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/ifcaKers of Ibistorg 

Madame Roland 







Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand 
eight hundnd and fifty, by 

Harper & Brothers, 

III the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District 
of .New l'ork. 

Ccpyright, 1878, by Ja^e W. Abbott. 



The history of Madame Roland embraces 
the most interesting events of the French Rev- 
olution, that most instructive tragedy which 
time has yet enacted. There is, perhaps, con- 
tained in the memoirs of no other woman so 
much to invigorate the mind with the desire 
for high intellectual culture, and so much to 
animate the spirit heroically to meet all the 
ills of this eventful life. Notwithstanding 
her experience of the heaviest temporal ca- 
lamities, she found, in the opulence of her 
own intellectual treasures, an unfailing re- 
source. These inward joys peopled her sol- 
itude with society, and dispelled even from 
the dungeon its gloom. I know not where 
to look for a career more full of suggestive 


Chapter Pag« 














MADAME ROLAND Frontispiece. 









Chapter I. 

Characters developed by the French Revolution. Madu*« Roimd 

"VTANY characters of unusual grandeur were 
-*•"-*- developed by the French Revolution. 
Among them all, there are few more illustri- 
ous, or more worthy of notice, than that of Ma- 
dame Roland. The eventful story of her life 
contains much to inspire the mind with admi- 
ration and with enthusiasm, and to stimulate 
one to live worthily of those capabilities with 
which every human heart is endowed. No per- 
son can read the record of her lofty spirit and 
of her heroic acts without a higher appreciation 
of woman's power, and of the mighty influence 
one may wield, who combines the charms of a 
noble and highly-cultivated mind with the fas- 
cinations of female delicacy and loveliness. To 
understand the secret of the almost miraculous 
influence she exerted, it is neoessary to trace 
her career, with some degree of minuteness, 

14 Madame Roland. [1754 

Oration Phlippon. His replnings at his lot 

from the cradle to the hour of her sublime and 
heroic death. 

In the year 1754, there was living, in an ob- 
scure workshop in Paris, on the crowded Quai 
Jes Orfevres, an engraver by the name of Gra- 
tien Phlippon. He had married a very beau 
tiful woman, whose plaoid temperament and 
oheerful content contrasted strikingly with the 
restlessness and ceaseless repinings of her hus- 
oand. The oomfortable yet humble apartments 
of the engraver were over the shop where he 
plied his daily toil. He was much dissatisfied 
with his lowly condition in life, and that his 
family, in the enjoyment of frugal competence 
alone, were debarred from those luxuries which 
were so profusely showered upon others. Bit- 
terly and unceasingly he murmured that his lot 
had been cast in the ranks of obsourity and of 
unsparing labor, while others, by a more fortu- 
nate, although no better merited destiny, were 
born to ease and affluence, and honor and lux- 
ury. This thought of the unjust inequality in 
man's condition, which soon broke forth with 
all the volcanic energy of the French Revolu- 
tion, already began to ferment in the bosoms of 
the laboring classes, and no one pondered these 
wide diversities with a more restless spirit, oi 

1754.) Childhood. 16 

Views of Phlippon. HU hostility to fee Church 

murmured more loudly and more incessantly 
than Phlippon. When the day's toil was end- 
ed, he loved to gather around him associates 
whose feelings harmonized with his own, and 
to descant upon their own grievous oppression 
and upon the arrogance of aristocratic great- 
ness. With an eloquence which often deeply 
moved his sympathizing auditory, and fanned to 
greater intensity the fires which were consum- 
ing his own heart, he contrasted their doom of 
sleepless labor and of comparative penury with 
the brilliance of the courtly throng, living in 
idle luxury, and squandering millions in the 
amusements at Versailles, and sweeping in 
oharioted splendor through the Champs Ely see. 
Phlippon was a philosopher, not a Christian. 
Submission was a virtue he had never learned, 
and never wished to learn. Christianity, as he 
*aw it developed before him only in the power- 
ful enginery of the Roman Catholic Church, 
was, in his view, but a formidable barrier 
against the liberty and the elevation of the peo- 
ple — a bulwark, bristling with superstition and 
bayonets^ behind whioh nobles and kings were 
securely intrenched. He consequently became 
as hostile to the doctrines of the Church as he 
was to the institutions of the state. The mon- 

16 Madams Roland. [1754, 

Origin of the French Revolution. Character of Madame Phlippom, 

arch was, in his eye, a tyrant, and God a delu- 
sion. The enfranchisement of the people, in his 
judgment, required the overthrow of both the 
earthly and the celestial monaroh. In these 
ideas, agitating the heart of Phlippon, behold 
the origin of the French Revolution. They 
were diffused in pamphlets and daily papers in 
theaters and cafts. They were urged by work- 
men in their shops, by students in their closets. 
They became the inspiring spirit of soience in 
encyclopedias and reviews, and formed the cho- 
rus in all the songs of revelry and libertinisiL 
These sentiments spread from heart to hearty 
through Paris, through the provinces, till France 
rose like a demon in its wrath, and the very 
globe trembled beneath its gigantic and indig- 
nant tread. 

Madame Phlippon was just the reverse of her 
husband. She was a woman in whom faith, 
and trust, and submission predominated. She 
surrendered her will, without questioning, to all 
the teachings of the Church of Rome. She wat 
placid, contented, and cheerful, and, though un 
inquiring in her devotion, undoubtedly sincere 
in her piety. In every event of life she reoog- 
nized the overruling hand of Providence, and 
feeling that the comparatively humble lot as* 

1754.] Childhood. 1? 

BLrth of Jane Maria. Adored by h«r parental 

signed her was in accordance with the will of 
God, she indulged in no repinings, and envied 
not the more brilliant destiny of lords and la- 
dies. An industrious housewife, she hummed 
the hymns of contentment and peace from morn- 
ing till evening. In the cheerful performance 
of her daily toil, she was ever pouring the balm 
of her peaceful spirit upon the restless heart of 
her spouse. Phlippon loved his wife, and often 
felt the superiority of her Christian tempera 

Of eight children born to these parents, one 
only, Jeanne Manon, or Jane Mary, survived 
the hour of birth. Her father first received her 
to his arms in 1754, and she became the object 
of his painful and most passionate adoration. 
Her mother pressed the coveted treasure to her 
bosom with maternal love, more calm, and deep, 
and enduring. And now Jane became the cen- 
tral star in this domestic system. Both parents 
lived in her and for her. She was their earth- 
ly all. The mother wished to train her for the 
Church and for heaven, that she might become 
an angel and dwell by the throne of God. 
These bright hopes gilded a prayerful mother's 
hours of toil and care. The father bitterly re- 
Dined W^iy should his bright and beautifu. 

18 Madame Roland. [1755 

Discontent of l'hlippon. His complaining! to hli child. 

child — who even in these her infantile yeara 
was giving indication of the most brilliant in- 
tellect — why should she be doomed to a life of 
obscurity and toil, while the garden of theTuil- 
eries and the Elysian Fields were thronged 
with children, neither so beautiful nor so intel- 
ligent, who were reveling in boundless wealth, 
and living in a world of luxury and splendor 
which, to Phlippon's imagination, seemed more 
alluring than any idea he could form of heaven ? 
These thoughts were a consuming fire in the 
bosom of the ambitious father. They burned 
with inextinguishable flame. 

The fond parent made the sprightly and fas- 
cinating child his daily companion. He led her 
by the hand, and confided to her infantile spirit 
ill his thoughts, his illusions, his day-dreams. 
To her listening ear he told the story of the ar- 
-ogance of nobles, of the pride of kings, and of 
i\e oppression by which he deemed himsrif un- 
justly doomed to a life of penury and toil. The 
light-hearted child was often weary of these 
complainings, and turned for relief to the pla- 
cidity and cheerfulness of her mother's mind. 
Here she found repose — a soothing, calm, and 
holy submission. StilJ the gloom of her father's 
spirit oast a pensive shade over her own feel- 

1755] Childhood. 19 

Early traits of character. Lore of book* 

ings, and infused a tone of melancholy and an 
aii of unnatural reflection into her character. 
By nature, Jane was endowed with a soul of 
unusual delicacy. From early childhood, all 
that is beautiful or sublime in nature, in litera- 
ture, in character, had charms to rivet her en- 
tranced attention. She loved to sit alone at 
her chamber window in the evening of a sum- 
mer's day, to gaze upon the gorgeous hues of 
sunset. As her imagination roved through 
those portals of a brighter world, which seemed 
thus, through far-reaching vistas of glory, to be 
opened to her, she peopled the sun-lit expanse 
with the creations of her own fancy, and often 
wept in uncontrollable emotion through the in 
fluence of these gathering thoughts. Books 
of impassioned poetry, and descriptions of he- 
roic character and achievements, were her es- 
pecial delight. Plutarch's Lives, that book 
which, more than any other, appears to be the 
incentive of early genius, was hid beneath her 
pillow, and read and re-read with tireless avid- 
ity Those illustrious heroes of antiquity be- 
came the companions of her solitude and of her 
hourly thoughts. She adored them and loved 
them as her own most intimate personal friends. 
Her character became insensibly molded to 

2& Madame Roland [1757 

lane ■ thirst tor roa&ing. Her lore of towersf 

their forms, and she was inspired with restless 
enthusiasm to imitate their deeds. When but 
twelve years of age, her father found her, one 
day, weeping that she was not born a Roman 
maiden. Little did she then imagine that, by 
talent, by suffering, and by heroism, she was 
to display a character the history of which 
would eclipse the proudest narratives in Greek 
or Roman story. 

Jane appears never to have known the frivol- 
ity and thoughtlessness of childhood. Before 
she had entered the fourth year of her age she 
knew how to read From that time her thirst 
for reading was so great, that her parents found 
no little difficulty in furnishing her with a suf- 
ficient supply. She not only read with eager- 
ness every book which met her eye, but pur- 
sued this uninterrupted miscellaneous reading 
to singular advantage, treasuring up all import- 
ant facts in her retentive memory. So entire- 
ly absorbed was she in her books, that the only 
tuccessful mode of withdrawing her from them 
was by offering her flowers, of which she was 
passionately fond. Books and flowers contin- 
ued, through all the vicissitudes of her life, even 
till the hour of her death, to afford her the most 
exquisite pleasure. She had no playmates, and 

1760.] Childhood. 21 

Jane's personal appearance. Thirst for knowledge 

thought no more of play than did her father and 
mother, who were her only and her constant 
companions. From infancy she was accustom 
ed to the thoughts and the emotions of mature 
mmds. In personal appearance she was, in ear- 
liest childhood and through life, peculiarly in- 
teresting rather than beautiful. As mature 
years perfected her features and her form, there 
was in the contour of her graceful figure, and 
her intellectual countenance, that air of thought- 
fulness, of pensiveness, of glowing tenderness 
and delicacy, which gave her a power of fasci- 
nation over all hearts. She sought not this 
power ; she thought not of it ; but an almost 
resistless attraction and persuasion accompa 
nied all her words and actions. 

It was, perhaps, the absence of playmates, 
and the habitual converse with mature minds, 
which, at so early an age, inspired Jane with 
that insatiate thirst for knowledge which she 
ever manifested. Books were her only resource 
in every unoccupied hour. From her walks 
with her father, and her domestio employments 
with her mother, she turned to her little library 
and to her chamber window, and lost herself in 
the limitless realms of thought. It is often im- 
agined that character is the result of accident 

22 MiDAME Rol\nd. [1760 

Intellectual gifts. A walk on the Boulerard* 

— that there is a native and inherent tendency, 
which triumphs over circumstances, and works 
out its own results. Without denying that 
there may be different intellectual gifts with 
which the soul may be endowed as it comes 
from the hand of the Creator, it surely is not 
difficult to perceive that the peculiar training 
through which the childhood of Jane was con- 
ducted was calculated to form the peculiar char 
acter which she developed. 

In a bright summer's afternoon she might be 
seen sauntering along the Boulevaids, led by 
her father's hand, gazing upon that scene of 
gayety with which the eye is never wearied. 
A gilded coach, drawn by the most beautiful 
horses in the richest trappings, sweeps along 
the streets— a gorgeous vision. Servants in 
showy livery, and out-riders proudly mounted, 
invest the spectacle with a degree of grandeur, 
oeneath which the imagination of a child sinks 
exhausted. Phlippon takes his little daughter 
m his arms to show her the sight, and, as she 
gazes in infantile wonder and delight, the dis- 
contented father says, " Look at that lord, and 
ady, and child, lolling so voluptuously in their 
coach They have no right there. Why must 
I and my child walk on this hot pavement, 

1762] Childhood. 23 

Phllppon • talk to hl« child. Youthful dream* 

while they repose on velvet cushions and revel 
in aL luxury ? Oppressive laws compel me to 
pay a portion of my hard earnings to support 
them in their pride and indolence. But a time 
will come when the people will awake to the 
aonsciousness of their wrongs, and their tyrants 
will tremble before them." He continues his 
walk in moody silence, brooding over his sense 
of injustice. They return to their home. Jane 
wishes that her father kept a carriage, and liv- 
aried servants and out-riders. She thinks of 
politics, and of the tyranny of kings and nobles, 
and of the unjust inequalities of man. She re- 
tires to the solitude of her loved chamber win- 
dow, and reads of Aristides the Just, of The- 
mistocles with his Spartan virtues, of Brutus, 
and of the mother of the ( Tracchi. Greece and 
Rome rise before her in all their ancient re- 
nown. She despises the frivolity of l J aris, the 
effeminacy of the moderns, and. her youthful 
bosom throbs with the desire of being noble in 
spirit and of achieving great exploits. Thus, 
when other children of her age were playing 
with their dolls, she was dreaming of the pros- 
tration of nobles and of the overthrow of throne!* 
>f 'iberty, and fraternity, and equality among 

24 Madame Roland. [176& 

"influence of Jane'a parents over her. Education In convent* 

mankind. Strange dreams for a child, but stili 
mere strange in their fulfillment. 

The infidelity of her father and the piety of 
her mother contended, like counter currents of 
the ocean, in her bosom. Her active intellect 
and love of freedom sympathized with the spec- 
ulations of the so-called philosopher. Her ami- 
able and affectionate disposition and her pensive 
meditations led her to seek repose in the sub- 
lime conceptions and in the soul-soothing con- 
solations of the Christian. Her parents were 
deeply interested in her education, and were 
desirous of giving her every advantage for se- 
curing the highest attainments. The educa- 
tion of young ladies, at that time, in France, 
was conducted almost exclusively by nuns in 
convents. The idea of the silence and solitude 
of the cloister inspired the highly-imaginative 
girl with a blaze of enthusiasm. Fondly as she 
loved her home, she was impatient for the hour 
to arrive when, with heroic self-sacrifice, she 
could withdraw from the world and its pleas- 
ures, and devote her whole soul to devotion, to 
meditation, and to study. Her mother's spirit 
of religion was exerting a powerful influence 
over her, and one evening she fell at her feot, 
and, bursting into tears, besought that she 

1764.] Childhood. 25 

Jane lent to a overrent Parting with her mother 

might be sent to a convent to prepare to receive 
her first Christian communion in a suitable 
frame of mind. 

The convent of the sisterhood of the Congre- 
gation in Paris was selected for Jane. In the 
review of her life which she subsequently wrote 
while immured in the dungeons of the Concier- 
gerie, she says, in relation to this event, " While 
pressing my dear mother in my arms, at the 
moment of parting with her for the first time 
in my life, I thought my heart would have bro- 
ken ; but I was acting in obedience to the voice 
of God, and I passed the threshold of the clois- 
ter, tearfully offering up to him the greatest 
sacrifice I was capable of making. This was 
»n the 7th of May, 1765, when 1 was eleven 
years and two months old. In the gloom of a 
prison, in the midst of political storms which 
ravage my country, and sweep away all that is 
dear to me, how shall I recall to my mind, ani 
how describe the rapture and tranquillity T en- 
joyed at this period of my life ? What lively 
colors can express the soft emotions of a young 
heart endued with tenderness and sensibility, 
greedy of happiness, beginning to be alive to 
the beauties- of nature, and p6roeiving the Pe : .ty 
alone ? The first night I spent in the convent 

26 Madame Roland. [1765 

Madame Roland's account of her first night in the convent 

was a night of agitation. I was no longer un- 
der the paternal roof. I was at a distance from 
that kind mother, who was doubtless thinking 
of me with affectionate emotion. A dim ] ight 
diffused itself through the room in which I had 
been put to bed with four children of my own 
age. I stole softly from my couch , and drew 
near the window, the light of the moun enabling 
ne to distinguish the garden, which it over- 
looked. The deepest silence pievailed around, 
and I listened to it, if I may use the expression, 
with a sort of respect. Lofty trees cast their 
gigantic shadows along the ground, and prom- 
ised a secure asylum to peaceful meditation. 
f lifted up my eyes to the heavens ; they were 
unclouded and serene. I imagined that I felt 
the presence of the Deity smiling upon my sac- 
rifice, and already offering me a reward in the 
consolatory hope of a celestial abode. Tears of 
delight flowed down my cheeks. I repeated my 
rows with holy ecstasy, and went to bed again 
to taste the slumber of God's chosen children.' , 
Her thirst for knowledge was insatiate, and 
with untiring assiduity she pursued her stud- 
ies. Every hour of the day had its appropriate 
employment, and time flew upon its swiftest 
wings Ev3ry book which fell in her wav she 

i765.] Childhood. 27 

J&uo'a booka of study. Her proficiency In music and drawing 

eagerly perused, and treasured its knowledge or 
its literary beauties in her memory. Heraldry 
and books of romance, lives of the saints and 
fairy legends, biography, travels, history, polit- 
ical philosophy, poetry, and treatises upon mor- 
als, were all read and meditated upon by thia 
young child. She had no taste for any childish 
amusements ; and in the hours of recreation, 
when the mirthful girls around her were forget- 
ting study and care in those games appropriate 
to their years, she would walk alone in the gar- 
den, admiring the flowers, and gazing upon the 
fleecy clouds in the sky. In all the beauties of 
nature her eye ever recognized the hand of God, 
and she ever took pleasure in those sublime 
thoughts of infinity and eternity which must 
engross eveiy noble mind. Her teachers had 
but little to do. Whatever study she engaged 
in was pursued with such spontaneous z.3al, 
that success had crowned her efforts before oth- 
ers had hardly made a beginning. 

In music and drawing she made great profi- 
ciency. She was even mora fond of all that is 
oeautiful and graceful in the accomplishments 
of a highly-cultivated mind, than in those more 
solid studies which she nevertheless pursued 
with so much energy and interest. 

2H Madame Roland. [1766 

Scenes in the convent Impressions made by them. 

The scenes which she witnessed in the ocn- 
vent were peculiarly calculated to produce an 
indelible impression upon a mind so imagina- 
tive. The chapel for prayer, with its somber 
twilight and its dimly-burning tapers ; the dirg- 
es which the organ breathed upon the trembling 
ear ; the imposing pageant of prayer and praise, 
with the blended costumes of monks and hood- 
ed nuns ; the knell which tolled the requiem of 
a departed sister, as, in the gloom of night and 
by the light of torches, she was conveyed to her 
burial — all these concomitants of that system 
of pageantry, arranged so skillfully to impress 
the senses of the young and the imaginative, 
fanned to the highest elevation the flames of 
that poetic temperament she so eminently pos- 

God thus became in Jane's mind a vision of 
poetic beauty. Religion was the inspiration of 
enthusiasm and of sentiment. The worship of 
the Deity was blended with all that was enno- 
bling and beautiful. Moved by these glowing 
fanciss, her susoeptible spirit, in these tendei 
years, turned away from atheism, from infidel- 
ity, from irreligion, as from that which was un- 
refined, revolting, vulgar. The consciousness 
©f the presence of God, the adoration of his b*» 

1766.} Childhood. 29 

Poetic enthu*laam. Taking the rell 

ing, became a passion of her sou*. This state 
of mind was poetry, not religion. It involved 
no sense of the spirituality of the Divine Law, 
no consciousness of unworthiness, no need of a 
Savior. It was an emotion sublime and beau- 
tiful, yet merely such an emotion as any one of 
susceptible temperament might feel when stand- 
ing in the Vale of Cliamouni at midnight, or 
when listening to the crash of thunder as the 
tempest wrecks the sky, or when one gazes en- 
tranced upon the fair face of nature in a mild 
and lovely morning of June, when no cloud ap- 
pears in the blue canopy above us, and no breeze 
niffles the leaves of the grove or the glassy sur- 
face of the lake, and the songs of birds and the 
perfume of flowers fdl the air. Many mistake 
the highly poetic enthusiasm which such scenes 
excite for the spirit of piety. 

While Jane was an inmate of the convent, 
a very interesting young lady, from some dis- 
appointment weary of the world, took the veil. 
When one enters a convent with the intention 
of becoming a nun, she first takes the white 
veil, which is an expression of h^r intentu l, 
and thus enters the grade of a novice. During 
the period of her novitiate, which continues for 
several months, she is exposed to the severest 

80 Madame Roland. [1767. 

Taking the black reU. Effect upon Jan* 

discipline of vigils, and fastings, and solitude, 
and prayer, that she may distinctly understand 
the life of weariness and self-denial upon which 
she has entered. If, unintimidated by these 
hardships, she still persists in her determination, 
she then takes the black veil, and utters her 
solemn and irrevocable vows to bury herself in 
the gloom of the cloister, never again to emerge. 
From this step there is no return. The throb- 
bing heart, which neither cowls nor veils can 
still, finds in the taper-lighted cell its living 
tomb, till it sleeps in death. No one with even 
an ordinary share of sensibility can witness a 
ceremony involving such consequences without 
the deepest emotion. The scene produced an 
effect upon the spirit of Jane which was never 
effaced. The wreath of flowers which crown- 
ed the beautiful victim ; the veil enveloping her 
person ; the solemn and dirge-like chant, the 
requiem of her burial to all the pleasures of 
gense and time ; the pall which overspread her, 
emblematic of her consignment to a living tomb, 
all so deeply affected the impassioned child, 
that, burying her face in her hands, she wept 
with uncontrollable emotion. 

The thought of the magnitude of the sacri- 
fice which the young novice was making aj> 

1767.J Childhood. 31 

Lofty Aspirations. Remark of Mapolwom, 

pealed irresistibly to her admiration of the mor- 
ally sublime. There was in that relinquish- 
ment of all the joys of earth a self-surrender to 
a passionless life of mortification, and penance, 
and prayer, an apparent heroism, which remind- 
ed Jane of her much-admired Roman maidens 
and matrons. She aspired with most romantic 
ardor to do, herself, something great and noble. 
While her sound judgment could not but con- 
demn this abandonment of life, she was inspired 
with the loftiest enthusiasm to enter, in some 
worthy way, upon a life of endurance, of sacri- 
fice, and of martyrdom/ She felt that she was 
born for the performance of some great deeds, 
and she looked down with contempt upon ail 
the ordinary vocations of every-day life. These 
were the dreams of a romantic girl. They were 
not, however, the fleeting visions of a siokly and 
sentimental mind, but the deep, soul-moving 
aspirations of one of the strongest intellects over 
which imagination has ever swayed its scepter. 
One is reminded by these early developments 
of character of the remark of Napoleon, when 
some one said, in his presence, " It is nothing 
but imagination." " Nothing but imagina- 
tion !" replied this sagacious observer ; " imag> 
ination rules the world /" 

32 Madame Re land. [1767 

Jane's contempt of ease and luxury. Her aelf-denlai 

These dim visions of greatness, these lofty 
aspirations, not for renown, but for the inward 
consciousness of intellectual elevation, of moral 
iublimity, of heroism, had no influence, as is 
ordinarily the case with day-dreams, to give 
Jane a distaste for life's energetic duties. They 
did not enervate her character, or convert her 
into a mere visionary ; on the contrary, they 
but roused and invigorated her to alacrity in 
the discharge of every duty. They led her to 
despise ease and luxury, to rejoice in self-de- 
nial, and to cultivate, to the highest possible 
degree, all her faculties of body and of mind, 
that she might be prepared for any possible des- 
tiny. Wild as, at times, her imaginings might 
have been, her most vivid fancy never could 
have pictured a career so extraordinary as that 
to which reality introduced her ; and in all the 
annals of ancient story, she could find no record 
of sufferings and privations more severe than 
those which she was called upon to endure. 
And neither heroine nor hero of any age has 
shed greater luster upon human nature by the 
cheerful fortitude wi + h which adversity has been 

Youth. 31 

JuaTMnt ai8 Its luQacnce upas Jaa* 

Chapter II. 


f S1HE influence of those intense emotion* 
-*- which were excited in the bosom of Jane 
by the scenes which she witnessed in her child- 
hood in the nunnery were never effaced from 
her imaginative mind. Nothing can be con- 
ceived more strongly calculated to impress the 
feelings of a romantic girl, than the poetic at- 
tractions which are thrown around the Roman 
Catholio religion by nuns, and cloisters, and 
dimly-lighted chapels, and faintly-burning ta- 
pers, and matins, and vespers, and midnight 
dirges. Jane had just the spirit to be mos'-; 
deeply captivated by such enchantments. She 
reveled in those imaginings which clustered in 
the dim shades of the cloister, in an ecstasy of 
luxurious enjoyment. The ordinary motive* 
which influence young girls of her age seem to 
have had no control over her. Her joys were 
most highly intellectual and spiritual, and he? 
aspirations were far above the usual conceptions 

of childhood. She, for a time, became entireJv 


34 Madame Roland. 

lane leaves the convent Her attachment to one of the nun* 

fascinated by the novel scenes around her, and 
surrendered her whole soul to the dominion of 
the associations with which she was engrossed 
In subsequent years, by the energies of a vigor- 
ous philosophy, she disenfranchised her intellect 
from these illusions, and, proceeding to another 
extreme, wandered in the midst of the cheerless 
mazes of unbelief; but her fancy retained the 
traces of these early impressions until the hour 
of her death. Christianity, even when most 
heavily encumbered with earthly corruption, is 
infinitely preferable to no religion at all. Even 
papacy has never swayed so bloody a scepter as 

Jane remained in the convent one year, and 
then, with deep regret, left the nuns, to whom 
she had become extremely attached. With one 
of the sisters, who was allied to the nobility, 
she formed a strong friendship, which continued 
through life. For many years she kept up a 
constant correspondence with this friend, and 
to this correspondence she attributes, in a great 
asgree, that facility in writing which contrib- 
uted so much to her subsequent celebrity. This 
ietter-writing is me of the best schools of com 
position, and the parent who is emulous of the 
improvement of his children in that respect, 


Youth. 35 

partakes of the Lord's Supper. Preparutloiui for the aolemnlt?, 

will do all in his power to encourage the con- 
stant use of the pen in these familiar epistles. 
Thus the most important study, the study of 
tha power of expression, is converted into a 
pleasure, and is pursued with an avidity which 
will infallibly secure success. It is a sad mis- 
take to frown upon such efforts as a waste of 

While in the convent, she, for the first time, 
partook of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 
Her spirit was most deeply impressed and over- 
awed by the sacredness of the ceremony. Du- 
ring several weeks previous to her reception of 
this solemn ordinance, by solitude, self-examin- 
ation, and prayer, she endeavored to prepare 
herself for that sacred engagement, which she 
deemed the pledge of her union to God, and of 
her eternal felicity. When the hour arrived, 
her feelings were so intensely excited that she 
wept convulsively, and she was entirely incap- 
able of walking to the altar. She was borne in 
the arms of two of the nuns. This depth of 
emotion was entirely unaffected, and secured for 
her the peculiar reverence of the sacred sisters. 

That spirit of pensive reverie, so dangerous 
and yet so fasoinating, to which she loved to 
wirrender herself, was peculiarly in harmon> 

36 Madame Roland. 

Jane's delight In meditation. Departure from the eonrent 

with all the influences with which she was sur- 
rounded in the convent, and constituted tht 
very soul of the piety of its inmates. She wag 
encouraged by the commendations of all the 
sisters to deliver her mind up to the dominion 
af these day-dreams, with whose intoxicating 
power every heart is more or less familiar. She 
loved to retire to the solitude of the cloisters, 
when the twilight was deepening into darkness, 
and alone, with measured steps, to pace to and 
fro, listening to the monotonous echoes of hei 
own footfall, which alone disturbed the solemn 
silence. At the tomb of a departed sister she 
would uiten linger, and, indulging in those mel- 
ancholy meditations which had for her so many 
charms, long for her own departure to the bo- 
som of her heavenly Father, where she might 
enjoy that perfect happiness for which, at times, 
her spirit glowed with such intense aspirations 
At the close of the year Jane left the peace- 
ful retreat where she had enjoyed so much, and 
where she had received so many impressions 
never to be effaced. Her parents, engrossed 
with care, were unable to pay *hat attention to 
their child which her expanding mind required, 
and she was sent to pass h< j r thirteenth year 
with her paternal grandmother and her aunt 

Youth. 37 

fane goea to live with her grandmother. Character of the latter 

Angelieu. Her grandmother was a dignified 
lady of much refinement of mind and graceful- 
ness of demeanor, who laid great stress upon all 
the courtesies of life and the elegances of man- 
ners and address. Her aunt was gentle and 
warm-hearted, and her spirit was deeply im- 
bued with that humble and docile piety, which 
has so often shone out with pure luster even 
through all the encumbrances of the Roman 
Catholic Church. With them she spent a year, 
in a seclusion from the world almost as entire 
as that which she found in the solitude of the 
convent. An occasional visit to her parents, 
and to her old friends the nuns, was all that in- 
terrupted the quiet routine of daily duties. 
Books continued still her employment and her 
delight. Her habits of reverie continued un- 
broken. Her lofty dreams gained a daily in- 
creasing ascendency over her character. 

She thus continued to dwell in the boundless 
regions of the intellect and the affections Even 
the most commonplace duties of life w >re ren- 
dered attractive to her by investing them with 
a mysterious connection with her own limitless 
being. Absorbed in her own thoughts, ever 
communing with herself, with nature, with the 
Deity, as the object of her highest sentiment 

38 Madame Roland. 

Jane's intellectual progress. Her father's delight 

and aspirations, though she did not despise those 
of a more humble mental organization, she gave 
them not a thought. The evening twilight of 
every fine day still found her at her chamber 
window, admiring the glories of the setting sun, 
and feeding her impassioned spirit with those 
visions of future splendor and happiness which 
the scene appeared to reveal. She fancied she 
could almost see the wings of angels gleaming 
in the purple sunlight. Through those gor- 
geous avenues, where clouds were piled on gold- 
en clouds, she imagined, far away, the man- 
sions of the blessed. These emotions glowing 
within her, gave themselves utterance in pray- 
ers earnest and ardent, while the tears of irre- 
pressible feeling filled her eyes as she thought 
of that exalted Being, so worthy of her pure 
and intensest homage. 

The father of Jane was delighted with all 
these indications of a marked and elevated char- 
acter, and did all in his power to stimulate her 
to greater zeal in her lofty studies and medita- 
tions. Jane became his idol, and the more her 
imaginative mind became imbued with the spir- 
it of romantic aspirations, the better was he 
pleased. The ardor of her zeal enabled her to 
succeed in every thing which she undertook 

Youth. 39 

Jane learns to engrave. Her mother impatient for her return. 

Invincible industry and energy were united 
with these dreams. She was ambitious of 
knowing every thing ; and when her father 
placed in her hands the burin, wishing to teach 
her to engrave, she immediately acquired such 
skill as to astonish both of her parents. And 
she afterward passed many pleasant hours in 
engraving, on highly-polished plates of brass, 
beautiful emblems of flowers as tokens of affec- 
tion for her friends. 

The mother of Jane, with far better judg- 
ment, endeavored to call back her daughter 
from that unreal world in which she loved to 
dwell, and to interest her in the practical du- 
ties of life. She began to be impatient for her 
return home, that she might introduce her to 
those household employments, the knowledge of 
which is of such unspeakable importance to ev- 
ery lady. In this she was far from being un- 
successful ; for while Jane continued to dream 
in accordance with the encouragement of her 
father, she also cordially recognized the good 
sense of her mother's counsels, and held herself 
ever in readiness to co-operate with her in all 
her plans. 

A little incident which took place at this 
time strikingly illustrates the reflective matu- 

40 Madame Roland. 

rbe Halt to Madame De Bolamord. Remaika of aerrante 

rity which her character had already acquired. 
Before the French Revolution, the haughty de- 
meanor of the nobility of France assumed such 
am aspect as an American, at the present day, 
can but feebly conceive. One morning, the 
grandmother of Jane, a woman of dignity and 
cultivated mind, took her to the house of Ma- 
dame De Boismorel, a lady of noble rank, whose 
children she had partly educated. It was a 
great event, and Jane was dressed with the ut- 
most care to visit the aristocratic mansion. 
The aspiring girl, with no disposition to come 
down to the level of those beneath her, and with 
still less willingness to do homage to those above 
her, was entirely unconscious of the mortifying 
condescension with which she was to be receiv- 
ed. The porter at the door saluted Madame 
Phlippon with politeness, and all the servants 
whom she met in the hall addressed her with 
civility. She replied to each with courtesy and 
with dignity. The grandmother was proud of 
her grand-daughter, and the servants paid the 
young lady many compliments. The instinct 
ive pride of Jane took instant alarm. She felt 
that servants had no right to presume to pay 
her compliments — that they were thus assum- 
ing that she was upon their level. Alas ! (or 

Yoith. 43 

Appearance of Madame De Boismorel. Her reception of the risitora 

poor human nature. All love to ascend Few 
are willing to favor equality by stepping down. 
A tall footman announced them at the door of 
the magnificent saloon All the furnishing and 
arrangements of this aristocratic apartment 
were calculated to dazzle the eye and bewilder 
the mind of one unaccustomed to such splen 
dor. Madame De Boismorel, dressed with the 
most ostentatious display of wealth, was seated 
upon an ottoman, in stately dignity, employing 
h$r fingers with fancy needle-work. Her face 
was thickly covered with rouge, and. as her 
guests were announced, she raised her eyes 
from her embroidery, and fixing a cold and un- 
feeling glance upon them, without rising to re- 
ceive them, or even making the slightest in- 
clination of her body, in a very patronizing and 
condescending tone said to the grandmother, 
" Ah ! Miss Phlippon, good morning to you !" 
Jane, who was far from pleased with her re- 
ception in the hall, was exceedingly displeased 
mth her reception in the saloon. The pride of 
the Roman maiden rose in her bosom, and in- 
dignantly she exclaimed to herself, " So my 
grandmother is called Miss in this house !" 

" I am very glad to see you," continued Ma- 
dame De Boismorel ; " and who is this fine 

44 Madame Roland. 

Madame De Boismorel's rolubility. Jane's dignified rejoinder* 

girl ? your grand-daughter, I suppose ? She 
will make a very pretty woman. Come here, 
my dear. Ah ! I see she is a little bashful. 
How old is your grand-daughter, Miss Phlip- 
pon? Her complexion is rather brown, to be 
sure, but her skin is clear, and will grow fairer 
in a few years. She is quite a woman already." 

Thus she rattled on for some time, waiting 
for no answers. At length, turning again to 
Jane, who had hardly ventured to raise her 
eyes from the floor, she said, " What a beauti- 
ful hand you have got. That hand must be a 
lucky one. Did you ever venture in a lottery 
my dear ?" 

" Never, madam," replied Jane, promptly 
4t I am not fond of gaming." 

" What an admirable voice !" exclaimed the 
lady. " So sweet and yet so full-toned ! But 
how grave she is ! Pray, my dear, are you not 
a little of a devotee ?" 

" I know my duty to God," replied Jane, 
11 and I endeavor to fulfill it." 

" That's a good girl," the noble lady rejoined 
u You wish to take the veil, do you not?" 

"I do not know what may be my destina- 
tion, neither am I at present anxious to conjec- 
ture it " 

Youth. 45 

fane's Indignation. She riaita Versailles 

44 How very sententious !" Madame De Bois- 
morel replied. "Your grand-daughter reads a 
great deal, does she not, Miss Phlippon ?" 

44 Yes, madam, reading is her greatest do- 

44 Ay, ay," rejoined the lady ; " I see how it 
is. But have a care that she does not turn au- 
thor. That would be a pity indeed." 

During this conversation the cheeks of Jane 
were flushed with wounded pride, and her heart 
throbbed most violently. She felt indignant 
and degraded, and was exceedingly impatient to 
escape from the humiliating visit. Conscious 
that she was, in spirit, in no respect inferior to 
the maidens of Greece and Rome who had so 
engrossed her admiration, she as instinctively 
recoiled from the arrogance of the haughty oc- 
cupant of the parlor as she had repelled the 
affected equality of the servants in the hall. 

A short time after this she was taken to pass 
a week at the luxurious abodes of Maria An- 
toinette. Versailles was in itself a city of pal* 
aces and of courtiers, where all that could daz- 
zle the eye in regal pomp and princely volup- 
tuousness was concentered. Most girls of her 
age would have been enchanted and bewildered 
by this display of royal grandeur. Jane was 

46 Madame Eoland. 

Jane's disgust at palace life. She resorts to the gardens. 

permitted to witness, and partially to share, all 
the pomp of luxuriously-spread tables, and pres- 
entations, and court balls, and illuminations, 
and the gilded equipages of embassadors and 
princes. But this maiden, just emerging from 
the period of childhood and the seclusion of the 
cloister, undazzled by all this brilliance, looked 
sadly on the scene with the condemning eye of 
a philosopher. The servility of the courtiers ex- 
cited her contempt. She contrasted the bound- 
less profusion and extravagance which filled 
these palaces with the absence of comfort in 
the dwellings of the over-taxed poor, and pon- 
dered deeply the value of that regal despotism, 
which starved the millions to pander to the dis- 
solute indulgence of the few. Her personal 
pride was also severely stung by perceiving 
that her own attractions, mental and physical, 
were entirely overlooked by the crowds which 
were bowing before the shrines of rank and pow- 
er. She soon became weary of the painful spec- 
tacle. Disgusted with the frivolity of the liv- 
ing, she sought solace for her wounded feelings 
in companionship with the illustrious dead. 
She chose the gardens for her resort, and, lin- 
gering around the statues which embellished 
these scenes of almost fairy enchantment, stir- 

Y >uth. 47 

f«a«'a meditatlona. Characteristic remark. 

rendered herself to the luxury of those oft-in 
dulged dreams, which lured her thoughts away 
from the trivialities around her to heroic char 
acter and brilliant exploits. 

" How do you enjoy your visit, my daugh- 
ter ?" inquired her mother. 

" I shall be glad when it is ended," was the 
characteristic reply, " else, in a few more days, 
I shall so detest all the persons I see that I shall 
not know what to do with my hatred." 

M Why, what harm have these persons done 
you, my child ?" 

"They make me feel injustice and look upon 
absurdity," replied this philosopher of thirteen 

Thus early did she commence her political 
meditations, and here were planted the germs 
of that enthusiasm which subsequently nerved 
her to such exertions for the disenthrahnent of 
the people, and the establishment of republican 
power upon the ruin of the throne of the Bcur- 
bons. She thought of the ancient republics, 
encircled by a halo of visionary glory, and of 
trie heroes and heroines who had been the mar- 
tyrs of liberty ; or, to use her own energetic 
language, "I sighed at the recollection of Ath- 
ens, where I could have enjoyed the fine arts 
without being annoyed at the sight of despot- 

48 Madame Roland. 

fane r«tara« hone. Her manner of matting. 

Lsm. 1 was out of all patience at being a 
Frenoh-woman. Enohanted with the golden 
period of the Greoian republic, I passed over 
the storms by which it had been agitated. I 
forgot the exile of Aristides, the death of Soc- 
rates, and the condemnation of Phocion. I lit- 
tle thought that Heaven reserved me to be a 
witness of similar errors, to profess the same 
principles, and to participate in the glory of the 
same persecutions." 

Soon after Jane had entered her fourteenth 
year, she left her grandmother's and returned 
to her parental home. Her father, though far 
from opulence, was equally removed from pov- 
erty, and, without difficulty, provided his fam- 
ily with a frugal competence. Jane now pur- 
sued her studies and her limitless reading with 
unabated ardor. Her mind, demanding reality 
and truth as basis for thought, in the develop- 
ments of character as revealed in biography, in 
the rise and fall of empires as portrayed in his- 
tory, in the facts of science, and in the princi- 
ples of mental and physical philosophy, found 
its congenial aliment. She accustomed herself 
to read with her pen in her hand, taking copi- 
ous abstracts of facts and sentiments which par- 
tioularlv interested her Not having a large 

Youth. 49 

Jane devotee herself to domestic duties. She goes to market 

library of her own, many of the books which 
she read were borrowed, and she carefully ex- 
tracted from them and treasured in her com- 
mon-place book those passages which particu- 
larly interested her, that she might read them 
again and again. With these abstracts and ex- 
tracts there were freely intermingled her own 
reflections, and thus all that she read was care- 
fully stored up in her own mind and became a 
portion of her own intellectual being. 

Jane's mother, conscious of the importance 
to her child of a knowledge of domestic duties, 
took her to the market to obtain meat and veg- 
etables, and occasionally placed upon her the 
responsibility of most of the family purchases ; 
and yet the unaffected, queenly dignity with 
which the imaginative girl yielded herself to 
these most useful yet prosaic avocations was 
such, that when she entered the market, the 
fruit-women hastened to serve her before the 
other customers. The first comers, instead of 
being offended by this neglect, stepped aside, 
struck by those indescribable indications of su- 
periority which ever gave her such a resistless 
influence over other minds. It is quite remark- 
able that Jane, apparently, never turned with 

repugnance from these humble avocations oJf 


60 Madame Roland. 

Jam's aptitude for domestic duties. From the study to the kit* hoc 

domestic life. It speaks most highly in behalf 
of the intelligence and sound judgment of hei 
mother, that she was enabled thus successfully 
to allure her daughter from her proud imagin- 
ings and her realms of romance to those unat- 
tractive practical duties which our daily neces- 
sities demand. At one hour, this ardent and 
impassioned maiden might have been seen in 
her little chamber absorbed in studies of deepest 
research. The highest themes which can ele- 
vate or engross the mind of man claimed her 
profound and delighted reveries. The next hour 
she might be seen in the kitchen, under the 
guidance of her placid and pious mother, re- 
ceiving from her judicious lips lessons upon fru- 
gality, and industry, and economy. The white 
apron was bound around her waist, and hei 
hands, which, but a few moments before, were 
busy with the circles of the celestial globe, were 
now occupied in preparing vegetables for din- 
ner. There was thus united in the charaotei 
of Jane the appreciation of all that is beautiful, 
chivalric, and sublime in the world of fact and 
the world of imagination, and also domestic 
ekiL and practical common sense. She was 
thus prepared to fascinate by the graces and el- 
egances of a refined and polished mini, and tc 

Youth. 51 

Domestic education. 

oreate for herself, in the midst of all the vicis- 
situdes of life, a region of loveliness in which 
her spirit could ever dwell ; and, at the same 
time, she possessed that sagacity and tact, and 
those habits of usefulness, which prepared her 
to meet calmly all the changes of fortune, and 
over them all to triumph. With that self-ap- 
preciation, the expression of which, with her, 
was frankness rather than vanity, she subse- 
quently writes, " This mixture of serious stud- 
ies, agreeable relaxations, and domestic cares, 
was rendered pleasant by my mother's good 
management, and fitted me for every thing. It 
seemed to forebode the vicissitudes of future 
jfe, and enabled me to bear them. In every 
place I am at home. I can prepare my own 
dinner with as much address as Philopcemen 
out wood ; but no one seeing me thus engaged 
would think it an office in which I ought to be 

Jane was thus prepared by Providence for 
that oareer which she rendered so illustrious 
through her talents and her sufferings. At this 
early period there were struggling in her bosom 
those very emotions which soon after agitated 
every mind in France, and which overthrew in 
chaotic ruin both the altar and the throne. 

52 Madame Rolasd 

Dissolute Mre* of the Catholic clergy. New emotion* 

The dissolute lives of many of the Catholic 
clergy, and their indolence and luxury, began 
to alarm her faith. The unceasing denuncia- 
tions of her father gave additional impulse to 
every such suggestion. She could not but see 
that the pride and power of the state were sus- 
tained by the superstitious terrors wielded by 
the Church. She could not be blind to the 
trickery by which money was wrested from tor- 
tured consciences, and from ignorance, imbecil- 
ity, and dotage. She could not but admire her 
mother's placid piety, neither could she conceal 
from herself that her faith was feeling, her prin- 
ciples sentiments. Deeply as her own feelings 
had been impressed in the convent, and much 
as she loved the gentle sisters there, she sought 
in vain for a foundation for the gigantic fabric 
of spiritual dominion towering above her. She 
looked upon the gorgeous pomp of papal wor- 
ship, with its gormandizing pastors and its starv 
ing flocks, with its pageants to excite the sense 
and to paralyze the mind, with its friars anu 
monks loitering in sloth and uselessness, ana 
often in the grossest dissipation, and her reason 
gradually began to condemn it as a gigantic 
superstition for the enthrall men t of mankind. 
Still, the influence of Christian sentiments, like 

!1Touth. 63 

Insolence of the aristocrac/. Jane's indignation. 

ft guardian angel, over hovered around her, and 
when her bewildered mind was groping amid 
the labyrinths of unbelief, her heart still clung 
to all that is pure in Christian morals, and to 
ftll that is consolatory in the hopes of immor- 
tality ; and even when benighted in the most 
painful atheistic doubts, conscience became her 
deity ; its voice she most reverently obeyed. 

She turned from the Church to the state 
She saw the sons and the daughters of aristo- 
cratic pride, glittering in gilded chariots, and 
surrounded by insolent menials, sweep by her, 
through the Elysian Fields, while she trod th 
lusty pathway. Her proud spirit revolted, mon 
and more, at the apparent injustice. She had 
studied the organization of society. She was 
familiar with the modes of popular oppression 
She understood the operation of that system of 
taxes, so ingeniously devised to sink the mass 
of the people in poverty and degradation, that 
princes and nobles might revel in voluptuous 
splendor. Indignation nerved her spirit as she 
reflected upon the usurpation thus ostentatious- 
ly displayed. The seclusion in which she lived 
encouraged deep musings upon these vast ine- 
qualities of life. Piety had not taught her sub- 
»nission. Philosophy had not yet taught hoi 

54 Madame Roland. 

New acquaintances. Jane's contempt for their ignorance and pride 

the impossibility of adjusting these allotments 
of our earthly state, so as to distribute the gifts 
oi fortune in aocordance with merit. Little, 
however, did the proud grandees imagine, as in 
oourtly splendor they swept by the plebeian 
maiden, enveloping her in the dust of their char- 
iots, that her voice would ye.t aid to upheave 
their castles from their foundations, and whelm 
the monarchy and the aristocracy of France in 
one common ruin. 

At this time circumstances brought her in 
contact with several ladies connected with no- 
ble families. The ignorance of these ladies, 
their pride, their arrogance, excited in Jane's 
mind deep contempt. She could not but feei 
her own immeasurable superiority over them, 
and yet she perceived with indignation that the 
accident of birth invested them with a factitious 
dignity, which enabled them to look down upon 
her with condescension. A lady of noble birth, 
who had lost fortune and friends through the 
fraud and dissipation of those connected with 
her, came to board for a short time in her fa- 
ther's family. This lady was forty years of 
age, insufferably proud of her pedigree, and in 
her manners stiff and repulsive. She was ex- 
eeedingly illiterate and uninformed, being un 

Y. 13 T H. 55 

A noble but Illiterate lady. Deference paid to ner 

able to write a line with correctness, and hav- 
ing no knowledge beyond that which may be 
picked up in the ball-room and the theater. 
Thare was nothing in her character to win es- 
teem. She was trying, by a law-suit, to recov- 
er a portion of her lost fortune. Jane wrote pe- 
titions for her, and letters, and sometimes went 
with her to make interest with persons whose 
influence would be important. She perceived 
that, notwithstanding her deficiency in every 
pergonal quality to inspire esteem or love, she 
was treated, in consequence of her birth, with 
the most marked deference. Whenever she 
mentioned the names of her high-born ancestry 
— and those names were ever upon her lips — 
she was listened to with the greatest respect 
Jane contrasted the reception which this illiter- 
ate descendant of nobility enjoyed with the re- 
ception which her grandmother encountered in 
the visit to Madame De Boismorel, and it ap- 
peared to her that the world was exceedingly 
unjust, and that the institutions of society were 
highly absurd. Thus was her mind training 
for activity in the arena of revolution. She 
was pondering deeply all the abuses of society. 
She had become enamored of the republican lib- 
erty of antiquity She was ready to embrace 

36 Madame Roland. 

Habits of reflection. 

with enthusiasm any hopes of change. All th« 
games and amusements of girlhood appeared to 
her frivolous, as, day after day, her whole men- 
tal powers were engrossed by these profound 
contemplations, and by aspirations for the ele- 
ction of herself and of mankind. 

1770.] Maidenhood. 57 

Ftrvt emotion* of lore. A youthful wtUt 

Chapter III. 

A SOUL so active, so imaginative, and so 
full of feeling as that of Jane, could not 
long slumber unconscious of the emotion of love. 
In the unaffected and touching narrative which 
she gives of her own character, in the Journal 
which she subsequently wrote in the gloom of 
a prison, she alludes to the first rising of that 
mysterious passion in her bosom. With that 
frankness which ever marked her character, 
she describes the strange fluttering of her heart, 
the embarrassment, the attraction, and the in- 
stinctive diffidence she experienced when in the 
presence of a young man who had, all uncon- 
sciously, interested her affections. It seems 
that there was a youthful painter named Tabo- 
ral, of pale, and pensive, and intellectual coun- 
tenance—an artist with soul-inspired enthusi- 
asm beaming from his eye — who occasionally 
called upon her father. Jane had just been 
reading the Heloise of Rousseau, that gushing 
founts'" of sentimentality. Her young heart 

i*iai)*;*« ki<Jk&*is 

ttodmi tfabdttr Number of rollcrm. 

took fire. His features mingled insensibly in 
her dreamings and her visions, and dwelt, a wel- 
come guest, in her castles in the air. The dif- 
fident young man, with all the sensitiveness of 
genius, could not speak to the daughter, of 
whose accomplishments the father was so just- 
ly proud, without blushing like a girl. When 
Jane heard him in the shop, she always con- 
trived to make some errand to go in. There 
was a pencil or something else to be sought for. 
But the moment she was in the presence of 
Taboral, instinctive embarrassment drove her 
away, and she retired more rapidly than she en- 
tered, and with a palpitating heart ran to hide 
herself in her little chamber. 

This emotion, however, was fleeting and tran- 
sient, and soon forgotten. Indeed, highly im- 
aginative as was Jane, her imagination was 
vigorous and intellectual, and her tastes led her 
far away from those enervating love-dreams in 
which a weaker mind would have indulged. A 
young lady so fascinating in mind and person 
could not but attract much attention. Many 
suitors began to appear, one after another, but 
she manifested no interest in any of them. The 
customs of society in France were such at that 
time, that it was difficult for any one who 

1770.1 Maidenhood. 59 

Jane as a letter writer. Her sentiment* adopted by the French ministry 

sought the hand of Jane to obtain an intr<xiuo- 
tion to her. Consequently, the expedient was 
osually adopted of writing first to her parents. 
These letters were always immediately shown 
to Jane. She judged of the character of the 
writer by the character of the epistles. Her 
father, knowing her intellectual superiority, 
looked to her as his secretary to reply to all 
these letters. She consequently wrote the an- 
swers, which her father carefully copied, and 
sent in his own name. She was often amused 
with the gravity with which she, as the father 
of herself, with parental prudence discussed her 
own interests. In subsequent years she wrote 
to kings and to cabinets in the name of her hus- 
band ; and the sentiments which flowed from 
her pen, adopted by the ministry of France as 
their own, guided the councils of nations. 

Her father, regarding commerce as the souroe 
of wealth, and wealth as the source of power 
and dignity, was very anxious that his daughter 
should accept some of the lucrative offers she 
"vas receiving from young men of the family 
acquaintance who were engaged in trade. But 
Jane h d no such thought. Her proud spirit 
revolted from such a connection. From her 
sublimated position among the ancient heroes. 

60 Madame Roland. [177U 

A rich meat merchant proposes for Jane'a hand. 

and her ambitious aspirings to dwell in the loft- 
iest regions of intellect, she could not think of 
allying her soul with those whose energies were 
sxpended in buying and selling ; and she de- 
clared that she would have no husband but one 
with whom she could cherish congenial sym- 

At one time a rich meat merchant of the 
neighborhood solicited her hand. Her father, 
allured by his wealth, was very anxious that 
his daughter should accept the offer. In reply 
to his urgency Jane firmly replied, 

" I can not, dear father, descend from my no 
ble imaginings. What I want in a husband is 
a soul, not a. fortune. I will die single rather 
than prostitute my own mind in a union with 
a being with whom I have no sympathies. 
Brought up from my infancy in connection vvitb 
the great men of all ages — familiar with lofty 
ideas and illustrious examples — have I lived 
with Plato, with all the philosophers, all the 
poets, all the politicians of antiquity, merely to 
unite myself with a shop-keeper, who v, ill nei- 
ther appreciate nor feel any thing as I do? 
Why have you suffered me, father, to contract 
these intellectual habits and tastes, if you wish 
me to form such an alliance ? I know not 

1770.] M AiDF. MHOOU. 61 

ConTcraatiun between Jane and her father about matrimony. 

whom I may marry ; but it must be one who 
can share my thoughts and sympathize with my 

" But, my daughter, there are many men of 
business who have extensive information and 
polished manners." 

" That may be," Jane answered, " but they 
do not possess the kind of information, and the 
character of mind, and the intellectual tastes 
which I wish any one who is my husband to 

" Do you not suppose," rejoined her father, 

u that Mr. and his wife are happy ? He 

has just retired from business with an ample 
fortune. They have a beautiful house, and re- 
ceive the best of company." 

" I am no judge," was the reply, " of other 
people's happiness. But my own heart is not 
fixed on riohes. I conceive that the strictest 
union of affection is requisite to conjugal felici- 
ty. I can not connect myself with any man 
whose tastes and sympathies are not in accord- 
ance with my own. My husband must be my 
superior. Since both nature and the laws give 
him the pre-eminence, I should be ashamed if 
he did not really deserve it." 

u I suppose, then, you want a counselor for 

62 Madame Roland. [177L 

Views of Jane In regard to marriage. 

your husband. But ladies are seldom happy 
with these learned gentlemen. They have a 
great deal of pride, and very little money." 

"Father," Jane earnestly replied, " I care not 
about the profession. I wish only to marry e 
man whom I can love." 

" But you persist in thinking such a man will 
never be found in trade. You will find it, 
however, a very pleasant thing to sit at ease in 
your own parlor while your husband is accu- 
mulating a fortune. Now there is Madame 
Dargens : she understands diamonds as well as 
ner husband. She can make good bargains in 
his absence, and could carry on all his business 
perfectly well if she were left a widow. You 
are intelligent. You perfectly understand that 
branch of business since you studied the treat- 
ise on precious stones. You might do what- 
ever you please. You would have led a very 
happy life if you could but have fancied De- 
lorme, Dabrieul, or — " 

" Father," earnestly exclaimed Jane, " I have 
discovered that the only way to make a fortune 
m trade is by selling dear that which has been 
bought cheap ; by overcharging the customer, 
and beating down the poor workman. I could 
never descend tc such practices ; nor could I 

1771.] Maidenhpou. 63 

Jane's objections to a tradesman. She la immovable 

respect a man who made them his occupation 
from morning till night." 

" Do you then suppose that there are no hon~ 
€**t tradesmen ?" 

"I presume that there are," was the reply; 
1 ; but the number is not large ; and among 
them I am not likely to find a husband who 
will sympathize with me." 

" And what will you do if you do not find 
the idol of your imagination ?" 

" I will live single." 

" Perhaps you will not find that as pleasant 
as you imagine. You may think that there is 
time enough yet. But weariness will come at 
last. The crowd of lovers will soon pass away 
and you know the fable." 

"Well, then, by meriting happiness, I wiL 
take revenge upon the injustice which would 
deprive me of it." 

" Oh ! now you are in the clouds again, my 
ohild. It is very pleasant to soar to such a 
leight, but it is not easy to keep the elevation.' 1 

The judicious mother of Jane, anxious to see 
her daughter settled in life, endeavored to form 
a match for her with & young physician. Much 
maneuvering was necessary to bring about the 
desired result. The young practitioner was 

t>4 Madame Rolanix (1771 

Hie young physician ha a lover. Curiom Interview 

nothing loth to lend his aid. The pecuniary 
arrangements were all made, and the bargain 
completed, before Jane knew any thing of the 
matter. The mother and daughter went out 
one morning to make a call upon a friend, it 
whose house the prospective husband of Jane, 
by previous appointment, was accidentally to 
be. It was a curious interview. The friends 
so overacted their part, that Jane immediately 
saw through the plot. Her mother was pen- 
sive and anxious. Her friends were voluble, 
and prodigal of sly intimations. The young 
gentleman was very lavish of his powers of 
pleasing, loaded Jane with flippant compliments, 
devoured confectionary with high relish, and 
chattered most flippantly in the most approved 
style of fashionable inanition. The high-spir- 
ited girl had no idea of being thus disposed of 
in the matrimonial bazar. The profession of 
the doctor was pleasing to her, as it promised 
an enlightened mind, and she was willing tc 
oonsent to make his acquaintance. Her moth- 
er urged her to decide at once. 

" What, mother !" she exclaimed, " wculd 
you have mc take one for my husband upon the 
•trength of a single interview ?" 

" It is not exactly so," she replied. " Thi* 

1772.] Maidenhood. 65 

The physician taken on trial. The connection broken off 

young gentleman's intimacy with our friends 
enables us to judge of his conduct and way of 
life. We know his disposition. These are the 
main points. You have attained the proper age 
to be settled in the world. You have refused 
many offers from tradesmen, and it is from that 
class alone that you are likely to receive ad- 
dresses. You seem fully resolved never to mar- 
ry a man in business. You may never have 
another such offer. The present match is very 
eligible in every external point of view. Be- 
ware how you reject it too lightly." 

Jane, thus urged, consented to see the young 
physician at her father's house, that she might 
become acquainted with him. She, however, 
determined that no earthly power should induce 
her to marry him, unless she found in him a 
congenial spirit. Fortunately, she was saved 
all further trouble in the matter by a dispute 
which arose between her lever and her father 
respecting the pecuniary arrangements, and 
which broke off all further connection between 
the parties. 

Her mother's health now began rapidly to 

decline. A stroke of palsy deprived her of her 

accustomed elasticity of spirits, and, secluding 

herself from society, she became silent and v&d 

66 Madame Roland. [1772 

Qium of Jane's mother. The Jeweler 

In view of approaching death, she often lament- 
ed that she could not see her daughter well 
married before she left the world. An offer 
which Jane received from a very honest, in- 
dustrious, and thrifty jeweler, aroused anew a 
mother's maternal solicitude. 

"Why," she exclaimed, with melancholy 
earnestness, " will you reject this y.mng man ? 
He has an amiable disposition, and high repu- 
tation for integrity and sobriety. He is already 
in easy circumstances, and is in a fair way of 
soon acquiring a brilliant fortune. He knows 
that you have a superior mind. He professes 
great esteem for you, and will be proud of fol- 
lowing your advice. You might lead him in 
any way you like." 

" But, my dear mother, I do not want a hus- 
band who is to be led. He would be too cum- 
bersome a child for me to take care of." 

" Do you know that you are a very whimsi- 
cal girl, my child ? And how do you think you 
would like a husband who was your master and 
tyrant ?" 

11 1 certainly," Jane replied, " should not like 
a man who assumed airs of authority, for thai 
would only provoke me to resist. Bat I am 
sure that I could never iDve a husband whom ft 

1772.J Maidenhood. 67 

Jane's views of congeniality between man at d wife. 

was necessary for me to govern. I should be 
ashamed of my own power." 

" I understand you, Jane. You would like 
to have a man think himself the master, while 
he obeyed you in every particular." 

44 No, mother, it is not that either. I hate 
servitude ; but empire would only embarrass 
me. I wish to gain the affections of a man 
who would make his happiness consist in con- 
tributing to mine, as his good sense and regard 
for me should dictate." 

" But, my daughter, there would be hardly 
such a thing in the world as a happy couple, if 
happiness could not exist without that perfect 
congeniality of taste and opinions which you 
imagine to be so necessary." 

"I do not know, mother, of a single person 
whose happiness I envy." 

14 Very well ; but among those matches which 
you do not envy, there may be some far pref- 
erable to remaining always single. I may be 
called out of the world sooner than you imag- 
ine. Your father is still young. I can not teU 
you all the disagreeatle things my fondness for 
you makes me fear. I should be indeed happy, 
could I see you united to some worthy man be- 
fore T die." 

6S Madame Rolanp. [1772 

Her mother's death. 

This was the first time that the idea of hei 
mother's death ever seriously entered the mind 
of Jane. With an eager gaze, she fixed her eye 
upon her pals and wasted cheek and her ema- 
ciate frame, and the dreadful truth, with the 
suddenness of a revelation, burst upon her. 
Her whole frame shook with emotion, and she 
burst into a flood of tears. Her mother, much 
moved, tried to console her. 

" Do not be alarmed, my dear child, " said 
she, tenderly. " I am not dangerously ill. But 
in forming our plans, we should take into con- 
sideration all chances. A worthy man offers 
you his hand. You have now attained your 
twentieth year. You can not expect as many 
suitors as you have had for the last five years. 
I may be suddenly taken from you. Do not, 
then, reject a husband who, it is true, has not 
all the refinement you could desire, but who will 
love you, and with whom you can be happy." 

" \ es, my dear mother," exclaimed Jane, 
with a deep and impassioned sigh, "as happy 
as you have been." 

The expression escaped her in the excitement 
of the moment. Never before had she ventured 
in the remotest way to allude to the total want 
of congeniality which she could not but per- 

1773.] Maidenhood. 69 

Juno's fHther becomes dissipated. Mf ekness of her mothm 

oeive existed between her father and her moth* 
er. Indeed, her mother's character for patience 
and placid submission was so remarkable, that 
Jane did not know how deeply she had suffer- 
ed, nor what a life of martyrdom she was lead- 
ing. The effect of Jane's unpremeditated ro- 
mark opened her eyes to the sad reality. Her 
mother was greatly disconcerted. Her cheek 
changed color. Her lip trembled. She made 
no reply. She never again opened her lips upon 
the subject of the marriage of her child. 

The father of Jane, with no religious belief 
to control his passions or guide his conduct, was 
gradually falling into those habits of dissipation 
to which he was peculiarly exposed by the char- 
acter of the times. He neglected his business. 
He formed disreputable acquaintances. He be- 
came irritable and domineering over his wife, 
and was often absent from home, with convivial 
clubs, until a late hour of the night. Neither 
mother nor daughter ever uttered one wori to 
each other in reference to the failings of the 
husband and father. Jane, however, had so 
powerful an influence over him, that she often, 
by her persuasive skill, averted the storm which 
was about to desoend upon her meek and unre- 
sisting parent. 

70 Madame Roland. [1773 

Excursion to the country. Delusive hope* 

The poor mother, in silence and sorrow, was 
sinking to the tomb far more rapidly than Jane 
imagined. One summer's day, the father, moth- 
er, and daughter took a short excursion into the 
country. The day was warm and beautiful. 
In a little boat they glided over the pleasant 
waters of the Seine, feasting their eyes with the 
beauties of nature and art which fringed the 
shores. The pale cheek of the dying wife be- 
oame flushed with animation as she once again 
breathed the invigorating air of the country, 
and the daughter beguiled her fears with the 
delusive hope that it was the flush of returning 
health. When they reached their home, Ma- 
dame Phlippon, fatigued with the excursion, 
retired to her chamber for rest. Jane, accom- 
panied by her maid, went to the convent to caL 
upon her old friends the nuns. She made & 
very short call. 

" Why are you in such haste ?" inquired Sis- 
ter Agatha. 

"I am anxious to return to my "other." 
" But you told me that she was better." 
" She is much better than usual. But I have 
a strange feeling of solicitude about her. I shall 
aot feel easy until I see her again." 

She hurried home, and was met at the door 

1774.J Maidenhood. 71 

Death of Madame Phlippon. Effects upon Jane, 

by a little girl, who informed her that her moth- 
er was very dangerously ilL She flew to the 
room, and found her almost lifeless. Another 
stroke of paralysis had done its work, and she 
was dying. She raised her languid eyes to her 
child, but her palsied tongue could speak no 
word of tenderness. One arm only obeyed the 
impulse of her will. She raised it, and affec- 
tionately patted the cheek of her beloved daugh- 
ter, and wiped the tears which were flowing 
down her cheeks. The priest came to admin- 
ister the last consolations of religion. Jane, 
with her eyes riveted upon her dying parent, 
endeavored to hold the light. Overpowered 
with anguish, the light suddenly dropped from 
her hand, and she fell senseless upon the floor. 
When she recovered from this swoon her moth- 
er was dead. 

Jane was entirely overwhelmed with uncon- 
trollable and delirious sorrow. For many days 
it was apprehended that her own life would fall 
a sacrifice to the blow which her affections had 
received. Instead of being a support to the 
family in this hour c£ trial, she added to the 
burden and the care. The Abbe L^grand, who 
stood by her bedside as her whole frame was 
shaken by convulsions, very sensibly remarked, 

72 Madame Roland. l 1774 

&eeorery of Jane. Character of bar mother 

" It Lb a good thing to possess sensibility. It is 
very unfortunate to have so much of it." Grad- 
ually Jane regained composure, but life, to her, 
was darkened. She now began to realize all 
those evils which her fond mother had appre- 
hended. Speaking of her departed parent, she 
says, " The world never contained a better or a 
more amiable woman. There was nothing brill- 
iant in her character, but she possessed every 
quality to endear her to all by whom she was 
known. Naturally endowed with the sweetest 
disposition, virtue seemed never to cost her any 
effort. Her pure and tranquil spirit pursued its 
even course like the docile stream that bathes 
with equal gentleness, the foot of the rock whioh 
holds it captive, and the valley which it at once 
enriohes and adorns. With her death was con- 
cluded the tranquillity of my youth, which till 
then was passed in the enjoyment of blissful 
affections and beloved occupations." 

Jane soon found her parental home, indeed, 
a melancholy abode. She was truly alone in 
the world. Her father now began to advance 
with more rapid footsteps in the career of dissi- 
pation. A victim to that infidelity which pre- 
sents no obstacle to crime, he yielded himself a 
willing oaptive to the dominion of passion, and 

L774.| Maidenhood. 73 

Janet melancholy. She resorts to writing. 

disorder reigned through the desolated house- 
hold. Jane had the mortification of seeing a 
woman received into the family to take her 
mother's place, in a union unsanctified by the 
iaws of God. A deep melancholy settled down 
upon the mind of the wounded girl, and she 
felt that she was desolate and an alien in her 
own home. She shut herself up in her cham- 
ber with her thoughts and her books. All the 
chords of her sensitive nature now vibrated only 
responsive to those melancholy tones which are 
the dirges of the broken heart. As there never 
was genius untinged by melancholy, so may it 
be doubted whether there ever was greatness 
of character which had not been nurtured in the 
school of great affliction. Her heart now began 
to feel irrepressible longings for the sympathy 
of some congenial friend, upon whose support- 
ing bosom she could lean her aching head. In 
lonely musings she solaced herself, and nurtur- 
ed her own thoughts by writing. Her pen be- 
came her friend, and the resource of every 
weary hour. She freely gave utterance in her 
cfiary to all her feelings and all her emotions 
Her manuscripts of abstracts, and extracts, and 
original thoughts, became quite voluminous 
In this way she was daily cultivating that pow 

74 Madame Roland. [1775 

Derelopment of character. Letter from M. Bolsmorel 

er of expression and that force of eloquence 
which so often, in subsequent life, astonished 
and charmed her friends. 

In every development of character in her most 
eventful future career, one can distinctly trace 
the influence of these vicissitudes of early life, 
and of these impressions thus powerfully stamp- 
ed upon her nature. Philosophy, romance, and 
religious sentiment, an impassioned mind and 
a glowing heart, admiration of heroism, and 
emulation of martyrdom in some noble cause, 
all conspired to give her sovereignty over the 
affections of others, and to enable her to sway 
human wills almost at pleasure. 

M. Boismorel, husband of the aristocratio lady 
to whom Jane once paid so disagreeable a vis- 
it, called one day at the shop of M. Phlippon, 
and the proud father could not refrain from 
showing him some of the writings of Jane. 
The nobleman had sense enough to be very 
much pleased with the talent which they dis- 
played, and wrote her a very flattering letter, 
offering her the free use of his very valuable 
library, and urging her to devote her life tc lit- 
erary pursuits, and at once to commence au- 
thorship. Jane was highly gratified by this 
commendation, and most eagerly availed her- 

1775.) Maidenhood. 75 

Reply to M. Da ttoismuroL Translation. 

self of his most valuable offer. In reply to his 
suggestion respecting authorship, she inclosed 
the following lines : 

'* Aux homines ouvrant la carriere 
Des grands et des nobles talents, 
Us n'ont inis aucune barriere 
A leurs plus sublimes elans. 

" De mon sexe foible et sensible, 
lis ne veulent que des vertus; 
Nous pouvons imiter Titus, 

Mais dans un sender moins penible. 

** Joussiez du bien d'etre udmis 
A toutes ces sortes de gloire 
Pour nous le temple de memoire 
Est dans le coBurs de nos amis." 

These lines have been thus vigorously trans- 
lated in the interesting sketch given by Mra 
Child of Madame Roland : 

" To man's aspiring sex 'tis given 
To climb the highest hill of fame ; 
To tread the shortest road to heaven, 
And gain by death a deathless name. 

" Of well-fought fields and trophies won 
The memory lives while ages pass ; 
Graven on everlasting stone, 
Or written on retentive brass. 

u But to poor feeble womankind 
The meed of glory is denied ; 
Within a narrow sphere confined. 
The lowly virtues are their prid* 

7tf Madame Roland. [1775 

Character of M De BoLsmoreL Jane introduced to the DobQlty 

" Yet not deciduous is their fame, 

Ending wnere frail existence ends) 
A sacred temple holds their name — 
The heart of their surviving friends." 

A friendly correspondence ensued between 
Jane and M. De Boismorel, which continued 
through his life. He was a very worthy and 
intelligent man, and became so much interest- 
ed in his young friend, that he wished to con- 
nect her in marriage with his son. This young 
man was indolent and irresolute in character, 
and his father thought that he would be great- 
ly benefited by a wife of decision and judgment. 
Jane, however, was no more disposed to fall in 
love with rank than with wealth, and took no 
fancy whatever to the characterless young no- 
bleman. The judicious father saw that it 
would be utterly unavailing to urge the suit, 
and the matter was dropped. 

Through the friendship of M. De Boismorel, 
she was often introduced to the great world of 
lords and ladies. Even his formal and haughty 
wife became much interested in the fascinating 
young lady, and her brilliant talents and ac- 
complishments secured her invitations to many 
social interviews to which she would not have 
been entitled by her birth. This slight ac- 
quaintance with the nobility of France did not. 

1775.] Maidenhood. 77 

Jane s contempt for the aristocracy. Her good tam 

however, elevate them in her esteem. She 
found the conversation of the old marquises and 
antiquated dowagers who frequented the salcojr 
of Madame De Boismorel more insipid and 
literate than that of the tradespeople who vis- 
ited her father's shop, and upon whom these 
nobles looked down with such contempt. Jane 
was alsc disgusted with the many indications 
she saw, not only of indolence and voluptuous- 
ness, but of dissipation and utter want of prin- 
ciple. Her good sense enabled her to move 
among these people as a studious observer of 
this aspect of human nature, neither adopting 
their costume nor imitating their manners. She 
was very unostentatious and simple in her style 
of dress, and never, in the slightest degree, af- 
fected the mannerism of mindless and he rt- 
less fashion. 

Madame De Boismorel, at one time eulogfc- 
mg her taste in these respects, remarked, 

" You do not love feathers, do you, Miss 
Phlippon? How very different you are from 
the giddy-headed girls around us I" 

" I never wear feathers," Jane replied, " oe- 
oause I do not think that they would correspond 
with the condition in life of an artist's dan#h- 
*«r who is going about on foot." 

78 Madame Roland. [177& 

WL PhBppcm s progress to dissipation. Jane's painful situation 

11 But, were you in a different situation id 
life, would you then wear feathers ?" 

"I do not know what I should do in that 
case. I attach very slight importance to such 
trifles. I merely consider what is suitable for 
myself, and should be very sorry to judge of 
others by the superficial information afforded 
by their dress." 

M. Phlippon now began to advance more rap- 
Idly in the career of dissipation. Jane did ev- 
ery thing in her power to lure him to love his 
home. All her efforts were entirely unavail- 
ing. Night after night he was absent until the 
Jatest hours at convivial clubs and card-parties 
He formed acquaintance with those with whom 
Jane could not only have no congeniality of 
taste, but who must have excited in her emo- 
tions of the deepest repugnance. These com- 
panions were often at his house ; and the com- 
fortable property which M. Phlippon possessed, 
under this course of dissipation was fast melt- 
ing away. Jane's situation was now painful in 
the extreme. Her mother, who had been the 
guardian angel of her life, was sleeping in the 
grave Her father was advancing with the 
most rapid strides in the road to ruin. Jane 
was in danger of soon being left an orphan and 

1775.J Maidenhood. 79 

Jane secures & smili income. Cotuolatloaa uJ literature. 

utterly penniless. Her father was daily becom- 
ing more neglectful and unkind to his daughter, 
as he became more dissatisfied with himself 
and with the world. Under these circum- 
stances, Jane, by the advice of friends, had re- 
sort to a legal process, by which there was se- 
cured to her, from the wreck of her mother's 
fortune, an annual income of about one hund- 
red dollars. 

In these gloomy hours which clouded the 
morning of life's tempestuous day, Jane found 
an unfailing resource and solace in her love of 
literature. With pen in hand, extracting beau- 
tiful passages and expanding suggested thoughts, 
she forgot her griefs and beguiled many hours, 
which would otherwise have been burdened 
with intolerable wretchedness. Maria Antoi- 
nette, woe- worn and weary, in tones of despair 
uttered the exclamation, " Oh ' what a resource, 
amid the casualties of life, must there be in a 
highly-cultivated mind." The plebeian maid- 
en could utter the same exclamation in accent* 
of joyfulness. 

80 Madame Roland. [17T€ 

Sophia Cannet. Roland da la Platte** 

Chapter IV. 


T^f7HEN Jane was in the convent, she be- 
* * came acquainted with a young lady from 
Amiens, Sophia Cannet. They formed for each 
other a strong attachment, and commenced a 
correspondence which continued for many years. 
There was a gentleman in Amiens by the name 
of Roland de la Platiere, born of an opulent 
family, and holding the quite important office 
of inspector of manufactures. His time was 
mainly occupied in traveling and study. Being 
deeply interested in all subjects relating to po- 
litical economy, he had devoted much attention 
to that noble science, and had written several 
treatises upon commerce, mechanics, and agri- 
culture, which had given him, in the literary 
and scientific world, no little celebrity. He fre- 
quently visited the father of Sophia. She often 
spoke to him of her friend Jane, showed him 
her portrait, and read to him extracts from her 
glowing letters. The calm philosopher became 
very much interested in the enthusiastic maid 

1776.] Marriage. 81 

M. Roland. Hia personal appearance 

en, and entreated Sophia to give him a letter 
of introduction to her, upon one of his annual 
visits to Paris. Sophia had also often written 
to Jane of her father's friend, whom she regard- 
ed with so much reverence. 

One day Jane was sitting alone in her deso- 
late home, absorbed in pensive musings, when 
M. Roland entered, bearing a letter of introduc- 
tion to her from Sophia. " You will receive 
this letter," her friend wrote, " by the hand of 
the philosopher of whom I have so often writ- 
ten to you. M. Roland is an enlightened man, 
of antique manners, without reproach, except 
for his passion for the ancients, his contempt for 
the moderns, and his too high estimation of his 
own virtue." 

The gentleman thus introduced to her was 
about forty years old. He was tall, slender, 
and well formed, with a little stoop in his gait, 
and manifested in his manners that self-pos- 
session which is the result of conscious worth 
and intellectual power, while, at the same time, 
he exhibited that slight and not displeasing 
awkwardness which one unavoidably acquires 
in hours devoted to silence and study. Still, 
Madame Roland says, in her description of hia 

person, that he was courteous and winning ; 


82 Madame Roland. [1777 

Character of M. Roland. First Impression* 

and though his manners did not possess all th« 
easy elegance of the man of fashion, they unit- 
ed the politeness of the well-bred man with the 
an ostentatious gravity of the philosopher. He 
was thin, with a complexion much tanned. His 
broad and intellectual brow, covered with but 
few hairs, added to the imposing attractiveness 
of his features. When listening, his counte- 
nance had an expression of deep thoughtful- 
ness, and almost of sadness ; but when excited 
in speaking, a smile of great cheerfulness spread 
over his animated features. His voice was rich 
and sonorous ; his mode of speech brief and sen- 
tentious ; his conversation full of information, 
and rich in suggestive thought. 

Jane, the enthusiastic, romantio Jane, saw in 
the serene philosopher one of the sages of anti- 
quity, and almost literally bowed and worship- 
ed. All the sentiments of M. Roland were in 
accordance with the most cherished emotions 
which glowed in her own mind. She found 
what she had ever been seeking, but had never 
found before, a truly sympathetic soul. She 
thought not of love. She looked up to M. Ro- 
land as to a superior being — to an oracle, by 
waose decisions she could judge whether her 
9wn opinions were right or wrong. It is tru» 

1777.] Marriage. 83 

Jane's appreciation of M. Roland. Mlndi and hearts. 

that M. Roland, cool and unimpassioned in aD 
his mental operations, never entered those airy 
realms of beauty and those visionary regions of 
romance where Jane loved, at times, \o reveL 
And perhaps Jane venerated him still more for 
his more stern and unimaginative philosophy. 
But his meditative wisdom, his abstraction from 
the frivolous pursuits of life, his high ambition, 
his elevated pleasures, his consciousness of su- 
periority over the mass of his fellow-men, and 
his sleepless desire to be a benefactor of human- 
ity, were all traits of character which resistless- 
ly attre^ted the admiration of Jane. She ador- 
ed him as a disciple adores his master. She 
listened eagerly to all his words, and loved com- 
munion with his thoughts. M. Roland was by 
no means insensible to this homage, and though 
he looked upon her with none of the emotions 
of a lover, he was charmed with her society be- 
cause she was so delighted with his own conver 
sation. By the faculty of attentively listening 
to what others had to say, Madame Roland 
affirms that she made more friends than by any 
remarks she ever made of her own. The twe 
minds, not hearts, were at once united ; but 
this platonio union soon led to one more tender. 
M, Roland had recently been traveling iri 

^4 Madame Roland. 11777 

loonul of M. Roland, His note* on Italy 

Mermauy, and had written a copious journal 
of his tour. As he was about to depart from 
Paris for Italy, he left this journal, with othei 
manuscripts, in the hands of Jane. " These 
manuscripts," she writes, " made me better ao~ 
quainted with him, during the eighteen months 
he passed in Italy, than frequent visits could 
have done. They consisted of travels, reflec- 
tions, plans of literary works, and personal an- 
ecdotes. A strong mind, strict principles, and 
personal taste, were evident in every page." 
He also introduced Jane to his brother, a Ben- 
edictine monk. During the eighteen months of 
his absence from Paris, he was traveling in It- 
aly, Switzerland, Sicily, and Malta, and writ- 
ing notes upon those countries, which he after- 
ward published. These notes he communicat- 
ed to his brother the monk, and he transmitted 
them to Jane. She read them with intense in- 
terest. At length he returned again to Paris, 
and their acquaintance was renewed. M. Ro- 
land submitted to her his literary projects, and 
was much gratified in finding that she approved 
of all that he did and all that he contemplated. 
She found in him an invaluable friend. His 
gravity, his intellectual life ; his almost stoioa. 
philosophy impressed her ima giaation and cap- 

1798.] Mawriaoe. 85 

The Light In which Jane and M. Roland regard each other. 

tivated her understanding. Two or three years 
passed away ere either of them seemed to have 
thought of the other in the light of a lover. 
She regarded him as a guide and friend. Tnere 
was no ardor of youthful love warming her 
heart. There were no impassioned affections 
glowing in her bosom and impelling her to his 
side. Intellectual enthusiasm alone animated 
her in welcoming an intellectual union with a 
noble mind. M. Roland, on the other hand, 
looked with placid and paternal admiration upon 
the brilliant girl. He was captivated by her 
genius and the charms of her conversation, and. 
above all, by her profound admiration of him- 
self. They were mutually happy in each oth- 
er's society, and were glad to meet and loth to 
part. They conversed upon literary projects, 
upon political reforms, upon speculations in phi- 
losophy and science. M. Roland was natural- 
ly self-confident, opinionated, and domineering. 
Jane regarded him with so much reverence that 
she received his opinions for law. Thus he was 
flattered and she was happy. 

M. Roland returned to his official post at 
Amiens, and engaged in preparing his work on 
Italy for the press. They carried on a volumi- 
nous and regular correspondence He forward 

86 Madame Roland. [1778 

M. Roland professes hi* attachment Feelings of Jane. 

ed to her, in manuscript, all the sheets of his 
proposed publication, and she returned them 
with the accompanying thoughts which their 
perusa' elicited. Now and then an expression 
of decorous endearment would escape from each 
pen in the midst of philosophic discussions and 
political speculations. It was several years aft- 
er their acquaintance commenced before M. Ro- 
land made an avowal of his attachment. Jane 
knew very well the pride of the Roland family, 
and that her worldly circumstances were such 
that, in their estimation, the connection would 
not seem an advantageous one. She also was 
too proud to enter into a family who might feel 
dishonored by the alliance. She therefore frank- 
ly told him that she felt much honored by his 
addresses, and that she esteemed him more 
highly than any other man she had ever met. 
She assured him that she should be most happy 
to make him a full return for his affection, but 
that her father was a ruined man, and that, by 
his increasing debts and his errors of character, 
still deeper disgrace might be entailed upcn all 
connected with him ; and she therefore oould 
not think of allowing M. Roland to make his 
generosity to her a source of future mortifica- 
tion to himself. 

1778.] Marriage. 87 

M. Roland writes to Jane'* father. Insulting letter of M. Phllppo*. 

This was not the spirit most likely to repel 
the philosophio lover. The more she manifest- 
ed this elevation of soul, in which Jane was 
perfectly sincere, the more earnestly did M. Ro- 
land persist in his plea. At last Jane, influ- 
enced by his entreaties, consented that he 
should make proposals to her father. He wrote 
to M. Phlippon. In reply, he received an in- 
sulting letter, containing a blunt refusal. M. 
Phlippon declared that he had no idea of hav- 
ing for a son-in-law a man of such rigid princi- 
ples, who would ever be reproaching him for all 
his little errors. He also told his daughter that 
she would find in a man of such austere virtue, 
not a companion and an equal, but a censor 
and a tyrant. Jane laid this refusal of her fa- 
ther deeply to heart, and, resolving that if she 
could not marry the man of her choice, she 
would marry no one else, she wrote to M. Ro- 
land, requesting him to abandon his design, and 
not to expose himself to any further affronts. 
She then requested permission of her father to 
retire to a convent. 

Her reception at the convent, where she was 
already held in such high esteem, was cordial 
in the extreme. The scanty income she had 
•aved from her mother's property rendered it 


88 Madame Roland. [1778 

Jane retire* to a convent Her mod* of life there 

necessary for her to live with the utmost fru- 
gality. She determined to regulate her ex- 
penses in accordance with this small sum. Po- 
tatoes, rice, and beans, with a little salt, and 
occasionally the luxury of a little butter, were 
her only food. She allowed herself to leave the 
convent but twice a week : once, to call, for an 
hour, upon a relative, and once to visit her fa- 
ther, and look over his linen. She had a little 
room under the roof, in the attic, where the 
pattering of the rain upon the tiles soothed to 
pensive thought, and lulled her to sleep by 
night. She carefully secluded herself from as- 
sociation with the other inmates of the convent, 
receiving only a visit of an hour each evening 
from the much-loved Sister Agatha. Her time 
she devoted, with unremitting diligence, to those 
literary avocations in which she /ound so much 
delight. The quiet and seclusion of this life 
had many charms for Jane. Indeed, a person 
with such resources for enjoyment within her« 
self could never be very weary. The votaries 
of fashion and gayety are they to whom exist- 
ence grows languid and life a burden. Several 
months thus glided away in tranquillity. She 
occasionally walked in the garden, at hours 
when no one else was there The spirit of res- 

1779) Marriage. 89 

Correspondence with M. Roland. He re^tTOM to Pari*. 

ignation, which she had so long cultivated ; the 
peaceful conscience she enjoyed, in view of 
duty performed ; the elevation of spirit, which 
enabled her to rise superior to misfortune ; the 
methodical arrangement of time, which assign- 
ed to oach hour its appropriate duty ; the habit 
of close application, which riveted her attention 
to her studies ; the highly-cultivated taste and 
buoyantly -winged imagination, which opened 
before her all the fairy realms of fancy, were 
treasures which gilded her cell and enriched 
her heart. She passed, it is true, some melan- 
choly hours ; but even that melancholy had its 
charms, and was more rich in enjoyment than 
the most mirthful moments through which the 
unreflecting flutter. M. Roland continued a 
very constant and kind correspondence with 
Jane, but she was not a little wounded by the 
philosophio resignation with which he submit- 
ted to her father's stern refusal. In the course 
of five or six months he again visited Paris, and 
called at the convent to see Jane. He saw hei 
pale and pensive face behind a grating, and the 
sight of one who had suffered so much from her 
faithful love for him, and the sound of her voice, 
which ever possessed a peculiar charm, revived 
id his mind those impressions which had beeo 

90 Madamb Roland. [1780. 

If. Roland renewi hi* offers to Jane. They are married. 

somewhat fading away. He again renewed his 
offer, and entreated her to aJlow the marriage 
eeremony at once to be performed by his broth 
er the prior. Jane was in much perplexity. 
She did not feel that her father was in a situ 
ation longer to control her, and she was a little 
mortified by the want of ardor which her phil- 
osophical lover had displayed. The illusion of 
romantic love was entirely dispelled from her 
mind, and, at the same time, she felt flattered 
by his perseverance, by the evidence that his 
most mature judgment approved of his choice, 
and by his readiness to encounter all the un- 
pleasant circumstances in which he might be 
involved by his alliance with her. Jane, with- 
out much delay, yielded to his appeals. They 
were married in the winter of 1780. Jane was 
then twenty-five years of age. Her husband 
was twenty years her senior. 

The first year of their marriage life they 
passed in Paris. It was to Madame Roland a 
year of great enjoyment. Her husband was 
publishing a work upon the arts, and she, with 
all tae energy of her enthusiastic mind, entered 
into all his literary enterprises. With great 
oare and acouracy, she prepared his manuscripts 
for the press, and corrected the proofs. She 

1780.] Marriage. 91 

First year of married life. Madame Roland's devotion to her hatband. 

lived in the study with him, became the com- 
panion of all his thoughts, and his assistant in 
all his labors. The only recreations in which 
she indulged, during the winter, were to attend 
* course of lectures upon natural history and 
botany. M. Roland had hired ready-furnished 
lodgings. She, well instructed by her mother 
in domestic duties, observing that all kinds of 
cooking did not agree with him, took pleasure 
in preparing his food with her own hands. Her 
husband engrossed her whole time, and, being 
naturally rather austere and imperious, he wish- 
ed so to seclude her from the society of others 
as to monopolize all her capabilities of friendly 
feeling. She submitted to the exaction without 
a murmur, though there were hours in which 
she felt that she had made, indeed, a serious 
sacrifice of her youthful and buoyant affections. 
Madame Roland devoted herself so entirely to 
the studies in which her husband was engaged 
that her health was seriously impaired. Accus- 
tomed as she was to share in all his pursuits, 
as began to think that he could not do without 
her at any time or on any occasion 

At the close of the year M. Roland returned 
to Amiens with his wife. She soon gave birth 
to a daughter, her onlv child, whom she nur« 

92 Madame Roland. [1780. 

Birth of a daughter. Literary pursuit* 

tared with the most assiduous care. Her lit- 
erary labors were, however, unremitted, and, 
though a mother and a nurse, she still lived in 
the study with her books and her pen. M. Ro- 
land was writing several articles for an ency- 
clopedia. She aided most efficiently in collect- 
ing the materials and arranging the matter, 
Indeed, she wielded a far more vigorous pen 
than he did. Her copiousness of language, her 
facility of expression, and the play of her fancy, 
gave her the command of a very fascinating 
style ; and M. Roland obtained the credit for 
many passages rich in diction and beautiful hi 
imagery for which he was indebted to the glow- 
ing imagination of his wife. Frequent sickness 
of her husband alarmed her for his life. TI19 
tenderness with which she watched over him 
strengthened the tie which united them. He 
could not but love a young and beautiful wife 
so devoted to him. She could not but love one 
upon whom she was conferring such rich bless- 
ings. They remained in Amiens for four years. 
Their little daughter Eudora was a source of 
great delight to the fond parents, and Madame 
Roland took the deepest interest in the devel- 
opments of her infantile mind. The office of 
M.Roland was highly lucrative, and his liter- 

1780.J Marriage. 93 

Application for letters-pateut of nobility. Visit to England 

ary projects successful ; and their position in 
society was that of an opulent family of illus- 
trious descent — for the ancestors of M. Roland 
had been nobles. He now, with his accumu- 
lated wealth, was desirous of being reinstated 
in that ancestral rank which the family had 
lost with the loss of fortune. Neither must we 
blame our republican heroine too much that, 
under this change of circumstances, she was 
not unwilling that he should resume that ex- 
alted social position to which she believed him 
to be so richly entitled. It could hardly be un- 
pleasant to her to be addressed as Lady Roland. 
It is the infirmity of our frail nature that it is 
more agreeable to ascend to the heights of those 
who are above us, than to aid those below to 
reach the level we have attained. Encounter- 
ing some embarrassments in their application 
for letters-patent of nobility, the subject was 
set aside for the time, and was never after re- 
newvid. The attempt, however, subsequently 
exposed them to great ridicule from their dem- 
ocratic opponents. 

About this time they visited England. They 
were received with much attention, and Ma- 
dame Roland admired exceedingly the compar- 
atively free institutions of that country. She 

94 Madame Roland. [1780. 

Remoral to Lyon* La Platiere and Its >«»»«t*f 

felt that the English, as a nation, were im- 
measurably superior to the French, and return- 
ed to her own home more than ever dissatisfied 
with the despotio monarchy by which the peo 
pie of France were oppressed. 

From Amiens, M. Roland removed to the 
city of Lyons, his native place, in which wider 
sphere he continued the duties of his office as 
Inspector General of Commerce and Manufac- 
tures. In the winter they resided in the city. 
During the summer they retired to M. Roland's 
paternal estate, La Platiere, a very beautiful 
rural retreat but a few miles from Lyons. The 
mother of M. Roland and an elder brother resid- 
ed on the same estate. They constituted the 
ingredient of bitterness in their cup of joy. It 
seems that in this life it must ever be that each 
pleasure shall have its pain. No happiness can 
come unalloyed. La Platiere possessed for Ma- 
dame Roland all the essentials of an earthly 
paradise ; but those trials which are the unva- 
rying lot of fallen humanity obtained entrance 
there. Her mother-in-law was proud, imperi- 
dus, ignorant, petulant, and disagreeable in ev- 
ery development of character. There are few 
greater annoyances of life than an irritable 
woman, rendered doubly morose by the infirm- 

1780.] Marriaob. 96 

Death of M. Roland's mother. Situation of La f latlera. 

ities of years. The brother was coarse and ar- 
rogant, without any delicacy of feeling himself, 
and apparently unconscious that others could 
be troubled by any such sensitiveness. The 
disciplined spirit of Madame Roland triumphed 
over even these annoyances, and she gradually 
infused through the discordant household, by 
her own cheerful spirit, a great improvement 
in harmony and peace. It is not, however, 
possible that Madame Roland should have shed 
many tears when, on one bright autumnal day, 
this hasty tongue and turbulent spirit were 
hushed in that repose from which there Is nc 
awaking. Immediately after this event, at- 
tracted by the quiet of this secluded retreat, 
they took up their abode there for both sum- 
mer and winter. 

La Platiere, the paternal inheritance of M 
Roland, was an estate situated at the base of 
the mountains of Beaujolais, in the valley of 
the Saone. It is a region solitary and wild, with 
rivulets, meandering down from the mountains, 
fringed with willows and poplars, and thread- 
ing their way through narrow, yet smooth and 
fertile meadows, luxuriant with vineyards. A 
large, square stone iiouse, with regular win- 
dows, and a roof, nearly flat, af red tiiea, on- 

96 Madame Roland. [1781 

Description of L» Platidre. Surrounding seenory 

stituted the comfortable, spacious, and substan- 
tial mansion. The eaves projected quite a dis- 
tance beyond the walls, to protect the windows 
from the summer's sun and the winter's rain 
and snow. The external walls, straight, and 
entirely unornamented, were covered with white 
plaster, which, in many places, the storms of 
years had cracked and peeled off. The house 
stood elevated from the ground, and the front 
door was entered by ascending five massive 
stone steps, which were surmounted by a rustv 
iron balustrade. Barns, wine-presses, dove-cots 
and sheep-pens were clustered about, so that 
the farm-house, with its out-buildings, almost 
presented the aspect of a little village. A veg- 
etable garden ; a flower garden, with serpentine 
walks and arbors embowered in odoriferous and 
flowering shrubs ; an orchard, casting the shade 
of a great variety of fruit-trees over the closely- 
rrrvvn greensward, and a vineyard, with lung 
lines of low-trimmed grape vines, gave a finish 
to this most rural and attractive picture. In 
the distance was seen the rugged range of the 
mountains of Beaujolais, while still further in 
the distance rose towering above them the 
snow-capped summits of the Alps. Here, in 
this social solitude, in this harmoDy of silence, 


1782.J Marriage. W 

fears of happiness Mode of life- 

in this wide expanse of nature, Madame Roland 
passed five of the happiest years of her liie — • 
five such years as few mortals enjoy on earth. 
She, whose spirit had been so often exhilarated 
by the view of the tree tops and the few square 
yards of blue sky which were visible from the 
window of her city home, was enchanted with 
the exuberance of the prospect of mountain and 
meadow, water and sky, so lavishly spread out 
before her. The expanse, apparently so limit- 
less, open to her view, invited her fancy to a 
range equally boundless. Nature and imagina- 
tion were her friends, and in their realms she 
found her home. Enjoying an ample income, 
engaged constantly in the most ennobling liter- 
ary pursuits, rejoicing in the society of her hus- 
band and her little Eudora, and superintending 
her domestic concerns with an ease and skill 
which made that superintendence a pleasure, 
time flew upon its swiftest wings. 

Hot mode of life during these five calm and 
gunny years which intervened between the 
cloudy morning and the tempestuous evening 
of her days, must have been exceedingly attract- 
ive. She rose with the sun, devoted sundry at- 
tentions to her husband and child, and person- 
ally superintended the arrangements for break- 

100 Madame Roland. [1783 

F.udora. Domestic chrtiea 

fast, taking an affectionate pleasure in prepar- 
ing very nicely her husband's frugal food witb 
her own hands. That social meal, ever, in % 
loving family, the most joyous interview of the 
day, being passed, M. Roland entered the ibra- 
ry for his intellectual toil, taking with him, for 
his silent companion, the idolized little Eudora. 
She amused herself with her pencil, or reading, 
or other studies, which her father and mother 
superintended. Madame Roland, in the mean 
time, devoted herself, with most systematic en- 
ergy, to her domestic concerns. She was a per- 
fect housekeeper, and each morning all the in- 
terests of her family, from the cellar to the gar- 
ret, passed under her eye. She superintended 
the preservation of the fruit, the storage of the 
wine, the sorting of the linen, and those other 
details of domestic life which engross the atten- 
tion of a good housewife. The systematio divi- 
sion of time, which seemed to be an instinctive 
principle of her nature, enabled her to accom- 
plish all this in two hours. She had faithful 
and devoted servants to do the work. The su- 
perintendence was all that was required. This 
genius to superintend and be the head, while 
others contribute the hands, is not the most 
oommon of human endowments. Madame Ro- 

1784.] Marriage. 101 

Literary employments. Pleasant ramble* 

1*»- 'j having thus attended to her domestic con- 
cerns, laid aside those cares for the remainder 
of the day, and entered the study to join her 
husband in his labors there. These intellectual 
employments ever possessed for her peculiar at- 
tractions. The scientific celebrity of M. Ro- 
land, and his political position, attracted many 
visitors to La Platiere ; consequently, they had, 
almost invariably, company to dine. At the 
close of the literary labors of the morning, Ma- 
dame Roland dressed for dinner, and, with ail 
that fascination of mind and manners so pecu- 
liarly her own, met her guests at the dinner- 
table. The labor of the day was then over. 
The repast was prolonged with social converse. 
After dinner, they walked in the garden, saun- 
tered through the vineyard, and looked at the 
innumerable objects of interest which are ever 
to be found in the yard of a spacious farm. 
Madame Roland frequently retired to the libra- 
ry, to write letters to her friends, or to superin- 
tend the lessons of Eudora. Occasionally, of a 
ime day, leaning upon her husband's arm, she 
would walk for several miles, calling at the cot- 
tages of the peasantry, whom she greatly en- 
deared to her by her unvarying kindness. In 
the evening, after tea, they again resorted to 

102 Madame Roland. [1784 

Distinguished guests. Rural pleasure* 

the library. Guests of distinguished name and 
influence were frequently with them, and the 
hours glided swiftly, cheered by the brilliance 
of philosophy and genius. The journals of the 
day were read, Madame Roland being usually 
called upon as reader. When not thus read- 
ing, she usually sat at her work-table, employ- 
ing her fingers with her needle, while she took 
a quiet and unobtrusive part in the conversa- 
tion. " This kind of life," says Madame Ro- 
land, " would be very austere, were not my hus- 
band a man of great merit, whom I love with 
my whole heart. Tender friendship and un- 
bounded confidence mark every moment of ex- 
istence, and stamp a value upon all things, 
which nothing without them would have. It 
is the life most favorable to virtue and happi- 
ness. I appreciate its worth. I congratulate 
myself on enjoying it ; and I exert my best en- 
deavors to make it last." Again she draws the 
captivating picture of rural pleasures. " I am 
preserving pears, which will be delicious. We 
are drying raisins and prunes. We make ouj 
breakfast upon wine ; overlook the servants 
busy in the vineyard ; repose in the shady 
groves, and on the green meadows ; gather wal- 
nuts from the trees ; and, having collected out 

L785.] Marriage. 103 

Knowledge of medicine. Kindness tc Xhe peasantry 

stock of fruit for the winter, spread it in the 
garret to dry. After breakfast this morning, 
we are all going in a body to gather almond* 
Throw off, then, dear friend, your fetters for a 
while, and come and join us in our retreat 
You will find here true friendship and real sim- 
plicity of heart." 

Madame Roland, among her other innumer- 
able accomplishments, had acquired no little 
skill in the science of medicine. Situated in a 
region where the poor peasants had no access 
to physicians, she was not only liberal in dis- 
tributing among them many little comforts, 
but, with the most self-denying assiduity, she 
visited them in sickness, and prescribed for 
their maladies. She was often sent for, to go 
a distance of ten or twelve miles to visit the 
sick. From such appeals she never turned 
away. On Sundays, her court-yard was filled 
with peasants, who had assembled from all the 
region round, some as invalids, to seek relief, 
and others who came with such little tokens of 
v heir gratitude as their poverty enabled them 
to bring. Here appears a little rosy-cheeked 
boy with a basket of chestnuts ; or a care- 
worn mother, pale and thin, but with a grate- 
ful eye presenting to her benefactrice a few 
small, fragrant cheeses, made of goat's milk : 

10-1 Madame Roland. (l^ND 

Gratitude of the peasantry, topu'ar rights 

and there is an old man, hobbling upon crutch- 
es, with a basket of apples from his orchard. 
She was delighted with these indications of 
gratitude and sensibility on the part of the un- 
enlightened and lowly peasantry. Her repub- 
lican notions, which she had cherished so fond- 
ly in her early years, but from which she had 
somewhat swerved when seeking a patent of 
nobility for her husband, began now to revive 
in her bosom with new ardor. She was re- 
garded as peculiarly the friend of the poor and 
the humble ; and at all the hearth-fires in the 
cottages of that retired valley, her name was 
Dronounced in tones almost of adoration. More 
and more Madame Roland and her husband be- 
gan to identify their interests with those of the 
poor around them, and to plead with tongue 
and pen for popular rights. Her intercourse 
with the poor led her to feel more deeply the 
oppression of laws, framed to indulge the few 
in luxury, while the many were consigned to 
penury and hopeless ignorance. She acquired 
boundless faith in the virtue of the people, and 
thought that their disinthrallment would usher 
in a millennium of unalloyed happiness. She 
now saw the ocean of human passions reposing 
in its perfect calm. She afterward saw thai 
same ooean when lashed bv the tempest. 

1791] The National Assembly. 10£ 

f ortantou* mutterlngi. Welcomed aa blewainft 

Chapter V. 

The National Assembly. 

jl J ADAME ROLAND was thus living at 
L»J- La Platiere, in the enjoyment of all that 
this world can give of peace and happiness, 
when the first portentous mutterings of that 
terrible moral tempest, the French Revolution, 
fell upon her ears. She eagerly caught the 
sounds, and, believing them the precursor of the 
most signal political and social blessings, rejoio- 
ed in the assurance that the hour was approach- 
ing when long-oppressed humanity would re- 
assert its rights and achieve its triumph. Lit- 
tle did she dream of the woes which in surging 
billows were to roll over her country, and which 
were to ingulf her, and all whom she loved, in 
their resistless tide. She dreamed — a very par- 
donable dream for a philanthropic lady — that 
an ignorant and enslaved people could be led 
from Egyptian bondage to the promised land 
without the weary sufferings of the wilderness 
and the desert. Her faith in the regenerative 
eapabilities of human nature was so strong, 

lotf Madame Roland. [17 ( J1 

Knthueiaam of Madame Roland. Louia X VL Maria Antoinette 

that she could foresee no obstacles and no dan- 
gers in the way of immediate and universal dis- 
franchisement from every custom, and from ail 
laws and usages which her judgment disap- 
proved. Her whole soul was aroused, and she 
devoted all her affections and every energy of 
her mind to the welfare of the human race. It 
is hardly to be supposed, human nature being 
such as it is, but that the mortifications she 
met in early life from the arrogance of those 
above her, and the difficulties she encountered 
in obtaining letters-patent of nobility, exerted 
some influence in animating her zeal. Her en- 
thusiastic devotion stimulated the ardor of her 
less excitable spouse ; and all her friends, by her 
fascinating powers of eloquence both of voice 
and pen, were gradually inspired by the same 
intense emotions which had absorbed her whole 

Louis XVI. and Maria Antoinette had but 
recently inherited the throne of the Bourbons, 
Louis was benevolent, but destitute of the de- 
cision of character requisite to hold the reins of 
government in so stormy a period. Maria An- 
toinette had neither culture of mind nor knowl- 
edge of the world. She was an amiable but 
spoiled child, with great native nobleness cf 

1791.] The National Assembly. 107 

Character of Maria Antoinette. Character of Louis 

character, but with those defects which are the 
natural and inevitable consequence of the friv- 
olous education she had received. She thought 
aever of duty and responsibility ; always and 
>nly of pleasure. It was her misfortune rather 
than her fault, that the idea never entered her 
mind that kings and queens had aught else to 
do than to indulge in luxury. It would be 
hardly possible to conceive of two characters 
less qualified to occupy the throne in stormy 
times than were Louis and Maria. The peo- 
ple were slowly, but with resistless power, ris- 
ing against the abuses, enormous and hoary 
with age, of the aristocracy and the monarchy, 
Louis, a man of unblemished kindness, integ- 
rity, and purity, was made the scape-goat for 
the sins of haughty, oppressive, profligate prin- 
ces, who for centuries had trodden, with iron 
hoofs, upon the necks of their subjects. The 
accumulated hate of ages was poured upon his 
devoted head. The irresolute monarch had no 
conception of his position. 

The king, in pursuance of his system of con- 
ciliation, as the clamors of discontent swelled 
louder and longer from all parts of France, con- 
vened the National Assembly. This body con- 
sisted of the nobility, the higher clergy, and rep 

L08 Madame Roland. [1791 

M. Roland elected to the Assembly. Ardor of his wife 

rosentatives, chosen by the people from all part? 
of France. M. Roland, who was quite an idol 
with the populace of Lyons and its vicinity, 
»nd who now was beginning to lose caste with 
the aristocracy, was chosen, by a very strong 
vote, as the representative to the Assembly from 
the city of Lyons. In that busy city the rev 
olutionary movement had commenced with 
great power, and the name of Roland was the 
rallying point of the people now struggling to 
escape from ages of oppression. M. Roland 
spent some time in his city residence, drawn 
thither by the intense interest of the times, and 
in the saloon of Madame Roland meetings were 
every evening held by the most influential gen- 
tlemen of the revolutionary party. Her ardoi 
stimulated their zeal, and her well-stored mind 
and fascinating conversational eloquence guid- 
ed their councils. The impetuous young men 
of the city gathered around this impassioned 
woman, from whose lips words of liberty fell so 
enchantingly upon their ears, and with cHval* 
rio devotion surrendered themselves to the guid' 
ance of her mind. 

In this rising conflict between plebeian and 
patrician, between democrat and aristocrat, the 
position in which M. Roland and wifo were 

1791.] T he National Assembly. 109 

Popularity of the Rolands. They go to Paris 

placed, as most conspicuous and influentia 
members of the revolutionary party, arrayed 
against them, with daily increasing animosity, 
all the aristocratic community of Lyons. Each 
day their names were pronounced by the advo- 
cates of reform with more enthusiasm, and by 
their opponents with deepening hostility. The 
applause and the censure alike invigorated Ma- 
dame Roland, and her whole soul became ab- 
sorbed in the one idea of popular liberty. This 
object became her passion, and she devoted her- 
self to it with the concentration of every energy 
of mind and heart. 

On the 20th of February, 1791, Madame Ro- 
land accompanied her husband to Paris, as he 
took his seat, with a name already prominent, 
in the National Assembly. Five years before, 
she had left the metropolis in obscurity and de- 
pression. She now returned with wealth, with 
elevated rank, with brilliant reputation, and ex- 
ulting in conscious power. Her persuasive in- 
fluence was dictating those measures which 
were driving the ancient nobility of France 
from their chateaux, and her vigorous mind was 
guiding those blows before which the throne of 
the Bourbons trembled. The unblemished and 
incorruptible integrity of M. Roland, his sim- 

110 Madame Roland. [1791 

Reception of the Rolands at Paris. Sittings of the Assembly 

plicity of manners and acknowledged ability, 
invested him immediately with much authority 
among his associates. The brilliance of his 
wife, and her most fascinating colloquial pow- 
ers, also reflated much luster upon his name. 
Madame Roland, with her glowing zeal, had 
just written a pamphlet upon the new order of 
things, in language so powerful and impressive 
that more than sixty thousand copies had been 
sold — an enormous number, considering the 
comparative fewness of readers at that time. 
She, of course, was received with the most flat- 
tering attention, and great deference was paid 
to her opinions. She attended daily the sit- 
tings of the Assembly, and listened with the 
f i..„„o«t interest to the debates. The king and 
queen had already been torn from their palaces 
at Versailles, and were virtually prisoners in 
the Tuiieries. Many of the nobles had fled 
from the perils which seemed to be gathering 
around them, and had joined the army of emi- 
grants at Coblentz. A few, however, of the no- 
bility, and many of the higher clergy, remain- 
ed heroically at their posts, and, as members of 
the Assembly, made valiant but unavailing ef- 
forts to defend the ancient prerogatives of the 
crown and of th3 Churjh. Madame Roland 

1791.] The National Assembly. Ill 

Tastes and principles. Conflict for power 

witnessed with mortification, which she could 
neither repress nor conceal, the decided supe- 
riority of the court party in dignity, and polish 
of manners, and in general intellectual culture> 
aver those of plebeian origin, who were strug- 
gling, with the energy of an infant Hercules, 
for the overthrow of despotic power. All her 
tastes were with tho ancient nobility and their 
defenders. All her principles were with the 
people. And as she contrasted the unrefined 
exterior and clumsy speech of the democratic 
leaders with the courtly bearing and elegant 
diction of those who rallied around the throne, 
she was aroused to a more vehement desire for 
the social and intellectual elevation of those 
with whom she had cast in her lot. The con- 
flict with the nobles was of short continuance. 
The energy of rising democracy soon vanquish- 
ed them. Violence took the place of law. And 
now the conflict for power arose between those 
cf the Republicans who were more and those 
who were less radical in their plans of reform, 
The most moderate party, consisting of those 
who would sustain the throne, but limit its 
powers by a free constitution, retaining many 
of the institutions and customs which antiquity 
ha 1 rendered venerable, was called the Girond 

112 Madame Roland. t i791 

The Girondists. The Jacobins. Meetings at Madr ie Roland » 

ist party. It was so called because their most 
prominent leaders were from the department of 
the Gironde. They would deprive the king of 
many of his prerogatives, but not of his crown. 
They would take from him his despotic power, 
but not his life. They would raise the mass of 
the people to the enjoyment of liberty, but to 
liberty controlled by vigorous law. Opposed to 
them were the Jacobins — far more radical in 
their views of reform. They would overthrow 
both throne and altar, break down all privileged 
orders, confiscate the property of the nobles, 
and place prince and beggar on the footing o.* 
equality. These were the two great parties 
into which revolutionary France was divided 
and the conflict between them was the most 
fierce and implacable earth has ever witnessec 
M. Roland and wife, occupying a residence in 
Paris, which was a convenient place of rendez- 
vous, by their attractions gathered around them 
every evening many of the most influential 
members of the Assembly. They attached 
themselves, with all their zeal and energy, 
the Girondists. Four evenings of every week, 
the leaders of this party met in the saloon of 
Madame Roland, to deliberate respectirg their 
measures. Among them there was «* young 

17yi J The National Assemblt. 113 

Appearance of Robespierre. HJ* character 

lawyer from the country, with a stupid expres- 
sion of countenance, sallow complexion, and un- 
gainly gestures, who had made himself excess- 
ively unpopular by the prosy speeches with 
which he was ever wearying the Assembly. 
He had often been floored by argument and 
coughed down by contempt, but he seemed alike 
insensible to sarcasm and to insult. Alone in 
the Assembly, without a friend, he attacked all 
parties alike, and was by all disregarded. Bnt 
he possessed an indomitable energy, and un- 
wavering fixedness of purpose, a profound con- 
tempt for luxury and wealth, and a stoical in- 
difference to reputation and to personal indul- 
gence, which secured to him more and more of 
an ascendency, until, at the name of Robes- 
pierre, all France trembled. This young man 
silent and moody, appeared with others in the 
saloon of Madame Roland. She was struck 
with his singularity, and impressed with an in- 
stinctive consciousness of his peculiar genius 
He was captivated by those charms of convert 
sation in which Madame Roland was unrivaled 
8ilently — for he had no conversational powers 
— he lingered around her chair, treasured up 
her spontaneous tropes and metaphors, and ab- 
sorbed her sentiments. He had a clear percep- 

114 Madame Roland. (1791. 

Remain* of the court party. Influence of Madame Roland 

tion of the state of the times, was perhaps i 
sincere patriot, and had no ties of friendship, no 
scruples of conscience, no instincts of mercy, to 
turn him aside from any measures of blood or 
woe which might accomplish his plans. 

Though the Girondists and the Jacobins were 
the two great parties now contending in the tu- 
multuous arena of French revolution, there still 
remained the enfeebled and broken remains of 
the court party, with their insulted and humil- 
iated king at their head, and also numerous 
oliques and minor divisions of those struggling 
for power. At the political evening reunions 
in the saloon of Madame Roland, she was inva- 
riably present, not as a prominent actor in the 
scenes, taking a conspicuous part in the socia. 
debates, but as a quiet and modest lady, of well 
known intellectual supremacy, whose aotive 
mind took the liveliest interest in the agitations 
of the hour. The influence she exerted was 
the polished, refined, attractive influence of an 
accomplished woman, who moved in her own 
appropriate sphere. She made no Amazonian 
speeches. She mingled not with men in the 
clamor of debate. With an invisible hand she 
gently and winningly touched the springs of 
action in other hearts With fp.tninin© oonver 

/■'•" :n r i: \ 




'''•-■>. -, 


i791.] The National Assembly. 117 

Mhdamt! Roland'* mode of action. Her delieacy 


gfttional eloquence, she threw out sagacious su 
gestions, which others eagerly adopted, and ad- 
vocated, and carried into vigorous execution. 
She did no violence to that delicacy of percep- 
tion which is woman's tower and strength. She 
moved not from that sphere where woman 
reigns so resistlessly, and dreamed not of lay- 
ing aside the graceful and polished weapons of 
her own sex, to grasp the heavier and coarser 
armor of man, which no woman can wield. By 
such an endeavor, one does but excite the re 
pugnance of all except the unfortunate few, who 
oan see no peculiar sacredness in woman's per- 
son, mind, or heart. 

As the gentlemen assembled in the retired 
parlor, or rather library and study, appropriated 
to these confidential interviews, Madame Ro- 
land took her seat at a little work-table, aside 
from the circle where her husband and his 
friends were discussing their political measures. 
Busy with her needle or with her pen, she list- 
ened to every word that was uttered, and often 
bit her lips to check the almost irrepressible de- 
sire to speak out in condemnation of some fee- 
ble proposal or to urge some bolder action. At 
the close of the evening, when frank and social 
converse ensued, her voice was heard in low, 

118 Madame Roland. [1791 

Robespierre at Madame Roland's. Horrors of the Revolution. 

but sweet and winning tones, as one after an- 
other of the members were attracted to her side. 
Robespierre, at such times silent and thought- 
ful, was ever bending over her chair. He stud- 
ied Madame Roland with even more of stoical 
apathy than another man would study a book 
which he admires. The next day his compan- 
ions would smile at the effrontery with which 
Robespierre would give utterance, in the As- 
sembly, not only to the sentiments, but even to 
the very words and phrases which he had so 
carefully garnered from the exuberant diction 
of his eloquent instructress. Occasionally, ev- 
ery eye would be riveted upon him, and every 
ear attentive, as he gave utterance to some lofty 
sentiment, in impassioned language, which had 
been heard before, in sweeter tones, from more 
persuasive lips. 

But the Revolution, like a spirit of destruc- 
tion, was now careering onward with resistless 
power. Liberty was becoming lawlessness. 
Hobs rioted through the streets, burned cha* 
eaux, demolished convents, hunted, even to 
death, priests and nobles, sacked the palaoes of 
the king, and denied the altars of religion. Thft 
Girondists, illustrious, eloquent, patriotic men, 
sincerely desirous of breaking the arm of de»* 

1791.] The National Assembly. 11.8 

Fears of the Girondist*. Violence of the Jacobin* 

potism and of introducing a well-regulated lib- 
erty, now began to tremble. They saw that a 
spirit was evoked which might trample every 
thing sacred in the dust. Their opponents, the 
Jacobins, rallying the populace around them 
with the cry, " Kill, burn, destroy," were for 
rushing onward in this career of demolition, till 
every vestige of gradations of rank and every 
restraint of religion should be swept from the 
land. The Girondists paused in deep embar- 
rassment. They could not retrace their steps 
and try to re-establish the throne. The endeav- 
or would not only be utterly unavailing, but 
would, with certainty, involve them in speedy 
and retrieveless ruin. They could not unite 
with the Jacobins in their reckless onset upon 
every thing which time had rendered venerable, 
and substitute for decency, and law, and order, 
the capricious volitions of an insolent, ignorant, 
and degraded mob. The only hope that re- 
mained for them was to struggle to continue 
firm in the position which they had already as- 
sumed. It was the only hope for Franoe. The 
restoration of the monarchy was impossible 
The triumph of the Jacobins was ruin. Which 
of these two parties in the Assembly shall ar- 
ray around its banners the millions of the pop- 

120 Madame Roland. (1791 

Resolution of the Girondists. Warning of Madame Roland 

ulace of France, now aroused to the full con- 
sciousness of their power ? Whioh can bid 
highest for the popular vote ? Whioh can pan- 
der most successfully to the popular palate? 
The Girondists had talent, and integrity, and 
incorruptible patriotism. They foresaw their 
peril, but they resolved to meet it, and, if they 
must perish, to perish with their armor on. No 
one discerned this danger at an earlier period 
than Madame Roland. She warned her friends 
of its approach, even before they were conscious 
of the gulf to which they were tending. She 
urged the adoption of precautionary measures, 
by which a retreat might be effected when their 
post should be no longer tenable. " I once 
thought," said Madame Roland, " that there 
were no evils worse than regal despotism. I 
now see that there are other calamities vastly 
more to be dreaded." 

Robespierre, who had associated with the Gi- 
rondists with rather a sullen and Ishmaelitish 
spirit, holding himself in readiness to go here or 
there, as events might indicate to be politic, be- 
gan now to incline toward the more popular 
party, of which he subsequently became the in- 
spiring demon. Though he was daily attract- 
ing more attention, he had not yet risen to pop- 

1791.) The National Assembly. 121 

Banger of Robespierre. He U concealed by Madame Roland 

ularity. On one occasion, being accused of ad- 
vocating some unpopular measure, the clamors 
of the multitude were raised against him, and 
rows of vengeance were utteied, loud and deep, 
through the streets of Paris. His enemies in 
the Assembly took advantage of this to bring 
an act of accusation against him, which would 
relieve them of his presence by the decisive en- 
ergy of the ax of the guillotine. Robespierre's 
danger was most imminent, and he was obliged 
to oonceal himself. Madame Roland, inspired 
by those courageous impulses which ever enno- 
bled her, went at midnight, accompanied by her 
husband, to his retreat, to invite him to a more 
secure asylum in their own house. Madame 
Roland then hastened to a very influential 
friend, H. Busot, allowing no weariness to in- 
terrupt her philanthropy, and entreated him to 
hasten immediately and endeavor to exculpate 
Robespierre, before an act of accusation should 
he issued against him. M. Busot hesitated, but, 
unable to resist the earnest appeal of Madame 
Roland, replied, <k I will do all in my power to 
save this unfortunate young man, although I 
am far from partaking the opinion of many re- 
specting him. He thinks too much of himself 
to love liberty; but he serves it, and that is 

122 Madame Roland. [1791 

BaaeneM )f Robespierre The Assembly dissolved 

enough for me. I will defend him." Thus 
was the life of Robespierre saved. He lived to 
reward his benefactors by consigning them all 
to prison and to death. Says Lamartine sub- 
imely, " Beneath the dungeons of the Concier- 
gerie, Madame Roland remembered that night 
with satisfaction. If Robespierre recalled it in 
his power, this memory must have fallen cold- 
er upon his heart than the ax of the headsman." 

The powerful influence which Madame Ro- 
land was thus exerting could not be concealed. 
Her husband became more illustrious through 
that brilliance she was ever anxious to reflect 
upon him. She appeared to have no ambition 
for personal renown. She sought only to ele- 
vate the position and expand the celebrity of 
her companion. It was whispered from ear to 
ear, and now and then openly asserted in the 
Assembly, that the bold and decisive measures 
of the Girondists received their impulse from 
the youthful and lovely wife of M. Roland. 

In September, 1791, the Assembly was dis- 
solved, and M. and Madame Roland returned to 
the rural quiet of La Platiere. But in pruning 
the vines, and feeding the poultry, and cultivat- 
ing the flowers which so peacefully bloomed in 
their garden, they could not forget the exciting 

1791.] The National Assembly. 123 

The Rolands again at La Platiere. They return to Pari* 

scenes through which they had passed, and the 
still more exciting scenes which they foresaw 
were to come. She kept up a constant corre- 
spondence with Robespierre and Busot, and fur- 
nished many lery able articles for a widely-cir- 
culated journal, established by the Girondists 
for the advocacy of their political views. The 
question now arose between herself and her 
husband whether they should relinquish the 
agitations and the perils of a political life in 
these stormy times, and cloister themselves in 
rural seclusion, in the calm luxury of literary 
and scientific enterprise, or launch forth again 
upon the storm-swept ocean of revolution ana 
anarchy. Few who understand the human 
heart will doubt of the decision to which they 
came. The chickens were left in the yard, the 
rabbits in the warren, and the flowers were 
abandoned to bloom in solitude ; and before the 
snows of December had whitened the hills, they 
were again installed in tumultuous Paris. A 
new Assembly had just been convened, from 
which all the members of the one but recently 
dissolved were by law excluded. Their friends 
weie rapidly assembling in Paris from their 
summer retreats, and influential men, from all 
part* of the empire, warp Lathering in the me- 

124 Madame Roland. [1791 

Plott and counterplots. Political maneurerlnf 

tropolis, to watch the progress of affairs. Clubs 
were formed to discuss the great questions of 
the day, to mold public opinion, and to overawe 
the Assembly. It was a period of darkness and 
of gloom ; but there is something so intoxicat- 
ing in the draughts of homage and power, that 
those who have once quaffed them find all mild- 
er stimulants stale and insipid. No sooner were 
M. and Madame Roland established in their 
oity residence, than they were involved in all 
the plots and the counterplots of the Revolution. 
M. Roland was grave, taciturn, oracular. He 
had no brilliance of talent to excite envy. He 
displayed no ostentation in dress, or equipage, 
or manners, to provoke the desire in others to 
humble him. His reputation for stoical virtue 
gave a wide sweep to his influence. His very 
silence invested him with a mysterious wisdom. 
Consequently, no one feared him as a rival, and 
he was freely thrust forward as the unobjection- 
able head of a party by all who hoped through 
him to promote their own interests. He was 
what we call in America an available candi- 
date. Madame Roland, on the contrary, was 
animated and brilliant. Her genius was uni- 
versally admired. Her bold suggestions, her 
shrewd counsel, her lively repartee, her capa- 

1791.] The National Assembly, 125 

llaaaacres and conflagrations. The king insulted and • prisoner 

bility of cutting sarcasm, rarely exercised, her 
deep and impassioned benevolence, her unvary- 
ing cheerfulness, the sincerity and enthusiasm 
if her philanthropy, and the unrivaled brilliance 
of her conversational powers, made her the cen- 
ter of a system around which the brightest in- 
tellects were revolving. Vergniaud, Petion, 
Brissot, and others, whose names were then 
comparatively unknown, but whose fame has 
since resounded through the civilized world, lov- 
ed to do her homage. 

The spirit of the Revolution was still advanc- 
ing with gigantic strides, and the already shat- 
tered throne was reeling beneath the redoubled 
blows of the insurgent people. Massacres were 
rife all over the kingdom. The sky was night- 
ly illumined by conflagrations. The nobles 
were abandoning their estates, and escaping 
from perils and death to take refuge in the bo- 
som of the little army of emigrants at Coblentz. 
The king, insulted and a prisoner, reigned but 
in name. Under these circumstances, Louis 
was compelled to dismiss his ministry and to 
oall in another more acceptable to the people. 
The king hoped, by the appointment of a Re- 
publican ministry, to pacify the democratic 
spirit There was nc other resource left hins 

126 Madame Roland. [1792 

Hw king ■urranden. M. Roland Minister of the Interior 

but abdication. It was a bitter cup for him tc 
drink. His proud and spirited queen d eel arid 
that she would rather die than throw herself 
into the arms of Republicans for protection. 
He yielded to the pressure, dismissed his min- 
isters, and surrendered himself to the Girond- 
ists for the appointment of a new ministry. 
The Girondists oalled upon M. Roland to take 
the important post of Minister of the Interior. 
Tt was a perilous position to fill, but what dan- 
ger will not ambition face ? In the present 
posture of affairs, the Minister of the Interior, 
was the monarch of France. M. Roland, whose 
quiet and hidden ambition had been feeding 
upon its success, smiled nervously at the power 
which, thus unsolicited, was passing into his 
hands. Madame Roland, whose all-absorbing 
passion it now was to elevate her husband to 
the highest summits of greatness, was gratified 
in view of the honor and agitated in view of the 
peril ; but, to her exaited spirit, the greater the 
danger, the more heroic the act. "The burden 
is heavy," she said ; " but Roland has a great 
consciousness of his own powers, and would de- 
rive fresh strength from the feeling of being use- 
ful to liberty and his country" 

In March, 1792, he entered upon his arduou* 

1792.] The National Assembly. 127 

Madame Roland In a palace. M Roland's first appearance at court 

and exalted office. The palace formerly occu- 
pied by the Controller General of Finance, most 
gorgeously furnished by Madame Necker in the 
days of her glory, was appropriated to their use. 
Madame Roland entered this splendid establish- 
ment, and, elevated in social eminence above 
the most exalted nobles of France, fulfilled all 
the complicated duties of her station with a 
grace and dignity which have never been sur- 
passed. Thus had Jane risen from that hum- 
ble position in which the daughter of the en- 
graver, in solitude, communed with her books, 
to be the mistress of a palace of aristocratio 
grandeur, and the associate of statesmen and 

When M. Roland made his first appearance 
at court as the minister of his royal master 
instead of arraying himself in the oourt-dress 
which the customs of the times required, he af- 
fected, in his costume, the simplicity of his prin- 
ciples. He wished to appear in his exalted sta- 
tion still the man of the people. He had not 
forgotten the impression produced in France by 
Franklin, as in the most republican simplicity 
of dress he moved among the glittering throng 
at Versailles. He accordingly presented him- 
self at the Tuileries in a plain black coat, with 

128 Madame Roland [1792 

Horror of the cou/tlers. M. Roland's opinion of the king 

a round hat, and dusty shoes fastened with rib- 
bons instead of buckles. The courtiers were 
indignant. The king was highly displeased at 
what he considered an act of disrespect. The 
master of ceremonies was in consternation, and 
exclaimed with a look of horror to General Da- 
muriez, " My dear sir, he has not even buckles 
in his shoes !" " Mercy upon us !" exclaimed 
the old general, with the most laughable expres- 
sion of affected gravity, " we shall then all go 
to ruin together !" 

The king, however, soon forgot the neglect 
of etiquette in the momentous questions which 
were pressing upon his attention. He felt the 
•importance of securing the confidence and good 
will of his ministers, and he approached them 
with the utmost affability and conciliation. M. 
Roland returned from his first interview with 
the monarch quite enchanted with his excellent 
disposition and his patriotic spirit. He assured 
his wife that the community had formed a to- 
tally erroneous estimate of the king ; that he 
was sincerely a friend to the reforms which 
were taking place, and was a hearty supporter 
of the Constitution which had been apparentlv 
forced upon him. The prompt reply of Ma 
dame Roland displaced even more than hew 

1792.] The National Assembly. 139 

Madame Roland's advice. Her opinion of kings and courtierv 

characteristic sagacity. " If Louis is sincerely 
a friend of the Constitution, he must be virtu- 
ous beyond the common race of mortals. Mis- 
trust your own virtue, M. Roland. You are 
nly an honest countryman wandering amid a 
crowd of courtiers — virtue in danger amid a 
myriad of vices. They speak our language ; 
we do not know theirs. No ! Louis can not 
love the chains that fetter him. He may feign 
to caress them. He thinks only of how he can 
spurn them. Fallen greatness loves not its de- 
cadence. No man likes his humiliation. Trust 
in human nature ; that never deceives. Dis- 
trust courts. Your virtue is too elevated to see 
tne snares which courtiers spread beneath your 



130 Madame Roland [1792. 

Parlor of Madame Roland. Vacillation of Louia 

Chapter VI. 

The Ministry op M. Roland. 

TT^ROM all the spacious apartments of tae 
-*- magnificent mansion allotted as the resi- 
dence of the Minister of the Interior, Madame 
Roland selected a small and retired parlor, which 
she had furnished with every attraction as a li- 
brary and a study. This was her much-loved 
retreat, and here M. Roland, in the presence of 
his wife, was accustomed to see his friends in 
all their confidential intercourse. Thus she 
was not only made acquainted with ail tiie im- 
portant occurrences of the times, but she form- 
ed an intimate personal acquaintance with the 
leading actors in these eventful movements. 
Louis, adopting a vacillating polioy, in his en- 
deavors to conciliate each party was losing the 
confidence and the support of all. The Girond- 
ists, foreseeing the danger which threatened the 
king and all the institutions of government, 
were anxious that he should be persuaded to 
abandon these mistaken measures, and firmly 
jid openly advocata the reforms which had a) 

1792.] Ministry of M. Roland. 131 

Measure* of the Girondists. Their perilous podtloa. 

ready taken place. They felt that if he would 
energetically take his stand in the position 
which the Girondists had assumed, there was 
still safety for himself and the nation. The 
Girondists, at this time, wished to sustain the 
throne, but they wished to limit its power and 
surround it by the institutions of republican lib- 
erty. The king, animated by his far more 
strong-minded, energetic, and ambitious queen, 
was slowly and reluctantly surrendering point 
by point as the pressure of the multitude com- 
pelled, while he was continually hoping that 
some change in affairs would enable him to re. 
gain his lost power. 

The position of the Girondists began to be 
more and more perilous. The army of emi- 
grant nobles at Coblentz, within the dominions 
of the King of Prussia, was rapidly increasing 
in numbers. Frederic was threatening, in al- 
liance with all the most powerful crowns of Eu- 
rope, to march with a resistless army to Paris, 
reinstate the king in his lost authority, and take 
signal vengeance upon the leaders 3f the Revo 
lution. There were hundreds of thousands in 
France, the most illustrious in rank and opu- 
lence, who would join such an army. The Ro- 
man Catholic priesthood, to a man, would lend 

132 Madame Roland. [1792 

jtumon of Invasion The rabbit 

to it the influence of all its spiritual authority 
Paris was every hour agitated by rumors of the 
approach of the armies of invasion. The peo- 
ple all believed that Louis wished to escape 
from Paris and head that army. The king was 
spiritless, undecided, and ever vacillating in his 
plans. Maria Antoinette would have gone 
through fire and blood to have rallied those 
hosts around her banner. Such was the posi- 
tion of the Girondists in reference to the Royal 
ists. They were ready to adopt the most ener. 
getio measures to repel the interference of this 
armed confederacy. 

On the other hand, they saw another party, 
noisy, turbulent, sanguinary, rising beneath 
them, and threatening with destruction all con- 
nected in any way with the execrated throne. 
This new party, now emerging from the lowest 
strata of society, upheaving all its superincum- 
bent masses, consisted of the wan, the starving, 
the haggard, the reckless. All of the abandon- 
ed and the dissolute rallied beneath its banners 
They called themselves the people. Amazoni- 
an fish-women ; overgrown Doys, #ith the faces 
and the hearts of demons ; men and girls, who 
had no homes but the kennels of Paris, in 
countless thousands swelled its demonstrations 

17D2.] Ministry of M. Rotand. 133 

Danger of the Girondists. Their demand of the king 

of power, whenever it pleased its leaders to call 
them out. This was the Jacobin party. 

The Girondists trembled before this myste- 
rious apparition now looming up before them, 
and clamoring for the overthrow of all human 
distinctions. The crown had been struck from 
the head of the king, and was snatched at by 
the most menial and degraded of his subjects. 
The Girondists, through Madame Roland, urg- 
ed the Minister of the Interior that he should 
demand of the king an immediate proclamation 
of war against the emigrants and their support- 
ers, and that he should also issue a decree 
against the Catholic clergy who would not sup- 
port the measures of the Revolution. It was, 
indeed, a bitter draught for the king to drink. 
Louis declared that he would rather die than 
sign such a decree. The pressure of the popu- 
lace was so tremendous, displayed in mobs, and 
conflagrations, and massacres, that these deci- 
sive measures seemed absolutely indispensable 
for the preservation of the Girondist party and 
the safety of the king. M. Roland was urged 
to present to the throne a most earnest letter 
of expostulation and advice. Madame Roland 
sat down at her desk and wrote the letter for 
her husband. It was expressed in that glowing 

134 Madame Roland \1792 

Letter to the king. It» character 

and impassioned style so eminently at her com- 
mand. Its fervid eloquence was inspired by 
the foresight she had of impending perils. M. 
Roland, impressed by its eloquence, yet almost 
trembling in view of its boldness and its truths, 
presented the letter to the king Its last para- 
graphs will give one some idea of its character. 
" Love, serve the Revolution, and the people 
will love it and serve it in you. Deposed priests 
agitate the provinces. Ratify the measures to 
extirpate their fanaticism. Paris trembles in 
view of its danger. Surround its walls with an 
army of defense. Delay longer, and you will 
be deemed a conspirator and an accomplice 
Just Heaven ! hast thou stricken kings with 
blindness? I know that truth is rarely wel- 
comed at the foot of thrones. I know, too, that 
the withholding of truth from kings renders 
revolutions so often necessary. As a citizen, a 
minister, I owe truth to tne king, and nothing 
shall prevent me from making it reach his 


The advice contained in this letter was most 
unpalatable to the enfeebled monarch. The 
adoption of the course it recommended was ap- 
parently his only chance of refuge from certain 
destruction, We must respect the magnanim- 

1792.] Ministry of M.Roland. 135 

Refusal >f the king. Dismissal of M Roland 

ity of the king in refusing to sign the decree 
against the firmest friends of his throne, and 
we must also respect those who were strug- 
gling against despotio power for the establish- 
ment of civil and religious freedom. When we 
think of the king and nis suffering family, our 
sympathies are so enlisted in behalf of their 
woes that we condemn the letter as harsh and 
unfeeling. When we think for how many ages 
the people of France had been crushed mto pov- 
erty and debasement, we rejoice to hear stern 
and uncompromising truth fall upon the ear ol 
royalty. And yet Madame Roland's letter rath- 
er excites our admiration for her wonderful 
abilities than allures us to her by developments 
of female loveliness. This celebrated letter was 
presented to the king on the 11th of June, 1792. 
On the same day M. Roland received a letter 
from the king informing him that he was dis- 
missed from office. It is impossible to refrain 
from applauding the king for this manifestation 
of spirit and self-respeot. Had he exhibited 
more of this energy, he might at least have had 
the honor of dying more gloriously ; tut, as the 
intrepid wife of the minister dictated the letter 
to the king, we can not doubt that it was the 
Imperious wife of the king who dictated the dis- 

136 Madame Roland. [1792 

The letter read to the Assembly. It* celebrity. 

missal in reply. Maria Antoinette and Ma- 
dame Roland met as Greek meets Greek. 

" Here am I, dismissed from office," was M. 
Roland's exclamation to his wife on his return 

" Present your letter to the Assembly, that 
the nation may see for what counsel you have 
been dismissed," replied the undaunted wife. 

M. Roland did so. He was received as a 
martyr to patriotism. The letter was read 
amid the loudest applauses. It was ordered to 
be printed, and circulated by tens of thousands 
through the eighty-three departments of the 
kingdom ; and from all those departments tbere 
eame rolling back upon the metropolis the eoho 
of the most tumultuous indignation and ap- 
plause. The famous letter was read by all 
Franoe—^nay, more, by all Europe. Roland was 
a hero. The plaudits of the million fell upon 
the ear of the defeated minister, while the exe- 
crations of the million rose more loudly and om- 
inously around the tottering throne. This b.'ow, 
struck by Madame Roland, was by far the heav- 
ies the throne of France had yet received. She 
who so loved to play the part of a heroine was 
not at all dismayed by defeat, when it oame 
with such an aggrandizement of power. Upoo 

i792J Ministry of M. Roland. 137 

Increasing influent of the Rolands. Barbarous. 

this wave of enthusiastic popularity Madame 
Roknd and her husband retired from the mag- 
nificent palace where they had dwelt for so short 
a time, and, with a little pardonable ostentation, 
selected for their retreat very humble apart- 
ments in an apparently obscure street of the 
agitated metropolis. It was the retirement of 
a philosopher proud of the gloom of his garret. 
But M. Roland and wife were more powerful 
now than ever before. The famous letter had 
placed them in the front ranks of the friends of 
reform, and enshrined them in the hearts of the 
ever fickle populace. Even the Jacobins were 
compelled to swell the universal voice of com- 
mendation. M. Roland's apartments were ever 
thronged. All important plans were discussed 
and shaped by him and his wife before they 
were presented in the Assembly. 

There was a young statesman then in Paris 
named Barbaroux, of remarkable beauty of per- 
son, and of the richest mental endowments. 
The elegance of his stature and the pensive 
melancholy of his olassio features invested him 
with a peculiar power of fascination. Between 
him and Madame Roland there existed the most 
pure, though the strongest friendship. One day 
he was sitting with M. Roland and wife, in so- 

138 Madame Roland. [1792. 

Project of a republic. Seconder by Madame Roland 

oial conference upon the desperate troubles of 
the times, when the dismissed minister said tc 
him, " What is to be done to save France ? 
There is no army upon which we can rely to 
resist invasion. Unless we can circumvent the 
plots of the court, all we have gained is lost. 
In six weeks the Austrians will be at Paris. 
Have we, then, labored at the most glorious of 
revolutions for so many years, to see it over- 
thrown in a single day? If liberty dies in 
France, it is lost forever to mankind. All the 
hopes of philosophy are deceived. Prejudice 
and tyranny will again grasp the world. Let 
us prevent this misfortune. If the armies of 
despotism overrun the north of France, let us 
retire to the southern provinces, and there es- 
tablish a republic of freemen." 

The tears glistened in the eyes of his wife as 
she Ustened to this bold proposal, so heroic in 
its ccnception, so full of hazard, and demanding 
such miracles of self-sacrifice and devotion. 
Madame Roland, who perhaps originally sug- 
gested the idea to her husband, urged it with 
all her impassioned energy. Barbaroux was 
just the man to have his whole soul inflamed 
by an enterprise of such grandeur. He drew a 
rapid sketch of the resources and hopes of lib 

L7H2. j M I N 1 S IB Y OF M, iiOLANI), 139 

Barbarous • opinion of the Rolands. The Girondists desert the king 

erty in the south, and, taking a map, traced the 
limits of the republic, from the Doubs, the Aire, 
and the Rhone, to La Dordogne ; and from the 
inaccessible mountains of Auvergne, to Du- 
rance and the sea. A serene joy passed over 
the features of the three, thus quietly originat- 
ing a plan which was, with an earthquake's 
power, to make every throne in Europe tottle, 
and to convulse Christendom to its very center 
Barbaroux left them deeply impressed with a 
sense of the grandeur and the perils of the en- 
terprise, and remarked to a friend, " Of all the 
men of modern times, Roland seems to me most 
to resemble Cato ; but it must be owned that 
it is to his wife that his courage and talents are 
due." Previous to this hour the Girondists had 
wished to sustain the throne, and merely to sur 
round it with free institutions. They had tak- 
en the government of England for their model 
From this day the Girondists, freed from all 
obligations to the king, conspired secretly in 
Madame Roland's chamber, and publicly in the 
tribune, for the entire overthrow of the mon- 
archy, and the establishment of a republic like 
that of the United States. They rivaled the 
Jacobins in the endeavor to see who could strike 
the heaviest blows against the throne It was 

140 Madame Roland. [1792 

Madame Roland's influsnce over the Girondists. Buzot adores her 

now a struggle between life and death. The 
triumph of the invading army would be the ut- 
ter destruction of all connected with the revo- 
lutionary movement. And thus did Madame 
Roland exert an influence more powerful, per- 
haps, than that of any other one mind in the 
demolition of the Bourbon despotism. 

Her influence over the Girondist party was 
such as no man ever can exert. Her conduct, 
frank and open - hearted, was irreproachable, 
ever above even the slightest suspicion of indis- 
cretion. She could not be insensible to the 
homage, the admiration of those she gathered 
around her. Buzot adored Madame Roland as 
the inspiration of his mind, as the idol of hia 
worship. She had involuntarily gained that 
entire ascendency over his whole being which 
made her the world to him. The secret of this 
resistless enchantment was concealed until her 
death ; it was then disclosed, and revealed the 
mystery of a spiritual conflict such as few can 
comprehend. She writes of Buzot, " Sensible, 
ardent, melancholy, he seems born to give and 
share haopiness. This man would forget the 
universe in the sweetness of private virtues. 
Capable of sublime impulses and unvarying af- 
fections, the vulgar, who like to depreciate what 

1792.] Ministry of M.Roland. 141 

Madame Roland's opinion of Buzot Effect oi r her death. 

it, can not equal, acouse him of being a dream- 
er. Of sweet countenance, elegant figure, there 
is always in his attire that care, neatness, and 
propriety which announce the respect of self as 
well as of others. While the dregs of the na- 
tion elevate the flatterers and corrupters of the 
people to station — while cut- throats swear, 
drink, and clothe themselves in rags, in ordei 
to fraternize with the populace, Buzot possesses 
the morality of Socrates, and maintains the de- 
corum of Scipio. So they pull down his house, 
and banish him as they did Aristides. I am 
astonished that they have not issued a decree 
that his name should be forgotten." 

These words Madame Roland wrote in her 
dungeon the night before her execution. Bu- 
zot was then an exile, pursued by unrelenting 
fury, and concealed in the caves of St. Emilion. 
When the tidings reached him of the death of 
Madame Roland, he fell to the ground as if 
struck by lightning. For many days he was 
in a state of phrensy, and was never again re* 
stored to cheerfulness. 

Danton now appeared in the saloon of Ma- 
dame Roland, with his gigantic statuie, and 
shaggy hair, and voice of thunder, and crouch- 
ed at the r eet of this mistress of hearts, whom 

142 Madame Kclanix [1792 

Dan ton at Madame Roland's. New scenes of violence. 

his sagacity perceived was soon again to be the 
dispenser of power. She comprehended at a 
glance his herculean abilities, and the import- 
ant aid he could render the Republican cause. 
She wished to win his co-operation, and at first 
tried to conciliate him, "asa woman would pat 
a lion ;" but soon, convinced of his heartless- 
ness and utter want of principle, she spurned 
him with abhorrence. He subsequently en- 
deavored, again and again, to reinstate himself 
in her favor, but in vain. Every hour scenes 
of new violence were being enaoted in Paris 
and throughout all France. Roland was the 
idol of the nation. The famous letter was the 
subject of universal admiration. The outcry 
against his dismission was falling in thunder 
tones on the ear of the king. This act had fan- 
ned to increased intensity those flames of revo- 
lutionary phrensy which were now glaring with 
portentous flashes in every part of France. The 
people, intoxicated and maddened by the dis- 
covery of their power, were now arrayed, with 
irresistible thirstings for destruction and blood, 
against the king, the court, and the nobility. 
The royal family, imprisoned in the Tuileries, 
wer3 each day drinking cf the cup of humilia. 
tion to its lowest dregs. Austria and Prussia. 

1792.J Ministry of M. Roland. i43 

Outrages of the mob. Recall of M. Roland 

united with the emigrants at Coblentz, prepar- 
ed to march to Paris to reinstate the king upon 
his throne. Excitement, consternation, phren- 
gy, pervaded all hearts. A vast assemblage of 
countless thousands of women, and boys, and 
wan and starving men, gathered in the streets 
of Paris. Harangues against the king and the 
aristocrats rendered them delirious with rage 
They crowded all the avenues to the Tuileries, 
burst through the gates and over the walls, 
dashed down the doors and stove in the win- 
dows, and, with obscene ribaldry, rioted through 
all the apartments sacred to royalty. They 
thrust the dirty red cap of Jacobinism upon the 
head of the King. They poured into the ear of 
the humiliated queen the most revolting and 
loathsome execrations. There was no hope for 
Louis but in the recall of M. Roland. The 
court party could give him no protection. The 
Jacobins were upon him in locust legions. M. 
Roland alone could bring the Girondists, as a 
shield, between the throne and the mob. He 
was recalled, and again moved, in calm tri- 
umph, from his obscure chambers to the regai 
palace of the minister. If Madame Roland's 
letter dismissed him from office, her letter also 
restored him again with an enormous accumu* 
tation of power 

144 Madame Roland. [17&2 

Perilous situation of M. Roland. His wife's mode of living 

His situation was not an enviable one. El- 
evated as it was in dignity and influence, it was 
full of perplexity, toil, and peril. The spirit of 
revolution was now rampant, and no earthiy 
power could stay it. It was inevitable that 
those who would not recklessly ride upon its 
billows must be overwhelmed by its resistless 
surges. Madame Roland was far more con- 
scious of the peril than her husband. With in- 
tense emotion, but calmly and firmly, she look 
ed upon the gathering storm. The peculiarity 
of her character, and her great moral courage, 
was illustrated by the mode of life she vigor- 
ously adopted. Raised from obscurity to a po- 
sition so commanding, with rank and wealth 
bowing obsequiously around her, she was en- 
tirely undazzled, and resolved that, consecrat- 
ing all her energies to the demands of the tem- 
pestuous times, she would waste no time in 
fashionable parties and heartless visits. "My 
love of study," she said, "is as great as my de- 
testation of cards, and the society of silly pea 
pie affords me no amusement." Twice a week 
she gave a dinner to the members of the minis- 
try, and other influential men in the political 
world, with whom her husband wished to con- 
ferpe. The palace was furnished to their hands 

1792.] Ministry op M. Roland. 147 

Library of Madame Roland. Meottags ther% 

by its former occupants with Oriental luxury, 
Selecting for her own use, as before, one of the 
smallest parlors, she furnished it as her library. 
Here she lived, engrossed in study, busy with 
her pen, and taking an unostentatious and un- 
seen, but most active part, in all those meas- 
ures which were literally agitating the whole 
civilized world. Her little library was the sanc- 
tuary for all confidential conversation upon 
matters of state. Here her husband met his 
political friends to mature their measures. The 
gentlemen gathered, evening after evening, 
around the table in the center of the room, M. 
Roland, with his serene, reilective brow, pre- 
siding at their head, while Madame Roland, at 
her work-table by the fireside, employed herself 
with her needle or her pen. Her mind, how- 
ever, was absorbed by the conversation which 
was passing. M. Roland, in fact, in giving his 
own views, was but recapitulating those senti- 
ments with whioh his mind was imbued from 
previous conference with his companion. 

It is not possible that one endowed with the 
ardont and glowing imagination of Madame 
Roland should not, at times, feel inwardly the 
spirit of exultation in the consciousness of thia 
▼a*t power. From the windows of her palace 

US Madame Roland. [1792, 

Striking contrail Labors of Madame Roland 

she looked down upon the shop of the meohan 
io where her infancy was cradled, and upon 
those dusty streets where she had walked an 
obscure child, while proud aristocracy swept by 
her in splendor — that very aristocracy looking 
now imploringly to her for a smile. She pos- 
sessed that peculiar tact, which enabled her oft- 
en to guide the course of political measures 
without appearing to do so. She was only anx- 
ious to promote the glory of her husband, and 
was never more happy than when he was re- 
ceiving plaudits for works which she had per- 
formed. She wrote many of his proclama- 
tions, his letters, his state papers, and with all 
the glowing fervor of an enthusiastic woman. 
" Without me," she writes, " my husband would 
have been quite as good a minister, for his 
knowledge, his activity, his integrity were all 
his own ; but with me he attracted more at- 
tention, because I infused into his writings that 
mixture of spirit and gentleness, of authorita- 
tive reason and seducing sentiment, which is, 
perhaps, only to be found in the language of a 
woman who has a clear head and a feeling 
heart." This frank avowal of just self-appre- 
ciation is not vanity. A vain woman could not 
have won the love and homage of so many of 
the noblest men of France. 

1792.] Ministry op M.Roland. 149 

French artiaU at Rome. Letter to the pop* 

A curious circumstance occurred at this time, 
which forcibly and even ludicrously struck Ma- 
dame Roland's mind, as she reflected upon the 
wonderful changes of life, and the peculiar po- 
sition whioh she now occupied. Some Frenoh 
artists had been imprisoned by the pope at 
Rome. The Executive Council of France wish- 
ed to remonstrate and demand their release. 
Madame Roland sat down to write the letter, 
severe and authoritative, to his holiness, threat- 
ening him with the severest vengeance if he 
refused to comply with the request. As in her 
little library she prepared this communication 
to the head of the Papal States and of the Cath- 
olic Church, she paused, with her pen in her 
hand, and reflected upon her situation but a 
few years before as the humble daughter of an 
engraver. She recalled to mind the emotions 
of superstitious awe and adoration with which, 
in the nunnery, she had regarded his holiness 
as next to the Deity, and almost his equal. She 
read over some of the imperious passages which 
she had now addressed to the pope in the unaf- 
fected dignity of oonscious power, and the con- 
trast was so striking, and struck her as so lu- 
dicrous, that she burst into an uncontrollable 
paroxysm of laughter. 

100 Madame Roland. [1792 

AiMdota. Rerersea of fortnnn 

When Jano was a diffident maiden of seven- 
teen, she went once with her aunt to the resi« 
denoe of a nobleman of exalted rank and vast 
wealth, and had there been invited to dine with 
the servants. ' The proud spirit of Jane wae 
touched to the quick. With a burning brow 
ghe sat down in the servants' hall, with stew- 
ards, and butlers, and cooks, and footmen, and 
vale* de charnbres, and ladies' maids of every de- 
gree, all dressed in tawdry finery, and assum- 
ing the most disgusting airs of self-importance. 
She went home despising in her heart both 
lords and menials, and dreaming, with new as- 
pirations, of her Roman republic. One day, 
when Madame Roland was in power, she had 
just passed from her splendid dining-room, 
where she had been entertaining the most dis- 
tinguished men of the empire, into her drawing- 
room, when a gray-headed gentleman entered, 
and bowing profoundly and most obsequiously 
before her, entreated the honor of an introduc- 
tion to the Minister of the Interior. This gen* 
tloman was M. Haudry, with whose servants 
ihe had been invited to dine. This once proud 
aristocrat, who, in the wreok of the Revolution, 
had lost both wealth and rank, now saw Ma- 
dame Roland elevated as far above him as ht 

1792.] Ministry of M. Roland. 151 

nwreaslnjr anarchy BascneM of the Jacobin* 

had formerly been exalted above her. She re- 
membered the many scones in which her spirit 
had been humiliated by haughty assumptions 
She could not but feel the triumph to whioh 
oircumstances had borne her, though magna 
nimity restrained its manifestation. 

Anarchy now reigned throughout Franco, 
The king and the royal family were imprisoned 
in the Temple. The Girondists in the Legis- 
lative Assembly, which had now assumod the 
name of the National Convention, and M. Ro- 
land at the head of the ministry, were strug- 
gling, with herculean exertions, to restore the 
dominion of law, and, if possible, to save the life 
of the king. The Jacobins, who, unable to re- 
sist the boundless popularity of M. Roland, had, 
for a time, co-operated with the Girondists, now 
began to separate themselves again more and 
more widely from them. They flattered the 
mob. They encouraged every possible demon- 
stration of lawless violence. They pandered to 
the passions of the multitude by affecting gross- 
ness and vulgarity in person, and language, and 
manners ; by clamoring for the division of prop- 
erty, and for the death of the king. In tones 
daily increasing in boldness and einoiency, they 
declared the Girondists to be the Criends of tha 

152 Madame Roland. [1792 

The throne demolished. Cry for a republic 

monarch, and the enemies of popular liberty 
Upon this tumultuous wave of polluted democ- 
racy, now rising with resistless and crested bil- 
low, Danton and Robespierre were riding into 
their terrific power. Humanity shut its eyes 
in view of the hideous apparition of wan and 
haggard beggary and crime. The deep mut- 
terings of this rising storm, which no earthly 
hand might stay, rolled heavily upon the ear of 
Europe. Christendom looked astounded upon 
the spectacle of a barbarian invasion bursting 
forth from the cellars and garrets of Paris. Op- 
pressed and degraded humanity was about to 
take vengeance for its ages of accumulated 
wrongs. The throne was demolished. The in- 
sulted royal family, in rags and almost in star- 
vation, were in a dungeon. The universal cry 
from the masses of the people was now for a 
republic Jacobins and Girondists united in 
this cry ; but the Jacobins accused the Girond- 
ists of being insincere, and of secretly plotting 
for the restoration of the king. 

Madame Roland, in the name of her hus- 
band, drew up for the Convention the plan of a 
republio as a substitute for the throne. From 
childhood she had yearned for a republic, with 
its liberty an 1 purity, fascinated by the ideal of 

1792.] Ministry op M Roland. 15S 

The Republic. Waning of M. Roland's power 

Roman virtue, from which her lively imagina- 
tion had banished all human corruption. But 
now that the throne and hereditary rank were 
virtually abolished, and all France clamoring 
for a republic, and the pen in her hand to pre- 
sent to the Nxtional Assembly a Constitution 
of popular liberty, her heart misgave her. Her 
husband was nominally Minister of the Interior, 
but his power was gone. The mob of Paris 
had usurped the place of king, and Constitution, 
and law. The Jacobins were attaining the de- 
cided ascendency. The guillotine was daily 
crimsoned with the blood of the noblest citizens 
of France. The streets and the prisons were 
polluted with the massacre of the innocent. 
The soul of Madame Roland recoiled with hor- 
ror at the scenes she daily witnessed. The Gi- 
rondists struggled in vain to resist the torrent, 
but they were swept before it. The time had 
been when the proclamation of a republio would 
have filled her soul with inexpressible joy. Now 
she could see no gleam of hope for her country 
The restoration of the monarchy was impossi« 
ble. The substitution of a republio was inevi- 
table. No earthly power could prevent it. In 
that republio she saw only the precursor of hei 
©wn ruin, the ruin of all dear to her, and gen- 

154 Madame Roland. [17955 

Mtd,me ^'"d'' ^twa^^^. j^ j^ 

eral anarchy With a dejected spirit she wrote 
to a fnend, "We are under the knife of Robes- 
pierre and Marat. You know my enthusiasm 
tor the Revolution. I am ashamed of it now 
It has been sullied by monsters. It is hideous " 

1792.J The Jacobins. 155 

Adraace of the allies. Hopes of the king's friead* 

Chapter VJI 

Madame Roland and the Jacobins. 

FT! HE Prussians were now advancing on their 
-*- march to Paris. One after another of the 
frontier cities of France were capitulating to 
the invaders as the storm of bomb-shells, from 
the batteries of the allied army, was rained down 
upon their roofs. The French were retreating 
before their triumphant adversaries. Sanguine 
hopes sprung up in the bosoms of the friends of 
the monarchy that the artillery of the Prussians 
would soon demolish the iron doors of the Tem- 
ple, where the king and the royal family were 
imprisoned, and reinstate the captive monaroh 
upon his throne. The Revolutionists wore al- 
most frantic in view of their peril. They knew 
that there were tens of thousands in Paris, of 
th© most wealthy and the most influential, and 
hundreds of thousands in France, who would, 
at the slightest prospeot of success, welcome 
the Prussians as their deliverers. Should the 
king thus prove victorious, the leaders in the 
revolutionary movement had sinned too deeply 

150 Madame Roland. [1792, 

Consternation at Paris. Speech of Dantoa*. 

to hope for pardon. Death was their inevitable 
doom. Consternation pervaded the metropolis. 
The magnitude of this peril united all the rev- 
olutionary parties for their common defense. 
Even Vergniaud, the most eloquent leader of 
the Girondists, proposed a decree of death 
against every citizen of a besieged city whc 
should speak of surrender. 

It was midnight in the Assembly. The 
most extraordinary and despotio measures were 
adopted by acclamation to meet the fearful 
emergence. " We must rouse the whole pop- 
ulace of France," exclaimed Danton, in those 
tones whioh now began to thrill so portentously 
upon the ear of Europe, " and hurl them, en 
masse, upon our invaders. There are traitors 
in Paris, ready to join our foes. We must ar- 
rest them all, however numerous they may be. 
The peril is imminent. The precautions adopt- 
ed must be correspondingly prompt and deci- 
sive. With the morning sun we must visit 
every dwelling in Paris, and imprison those 
whom we have reason to fear will join the ene- 
mies of the nation, even though they be thirty 
thousand in number." 

The deoree passed without hesitation. The 
grates of Paris were to be locked, that none might 

1792.J The Jacobins. 157 

Despotic meunret. Dcmicillarr rlaite. 

escape. Carriages were to be excluded from 
the streets. All citizens were ordered to be at 
homo. The sections, the tribunals, the clubs 
were to suspend their sittings, that the public 
attention might not be distracted. All houses 
were to be brilliantly lighted in the evening, 
that the search might be more effectually con- 
ducted. Commissaries, accompanied by armed 
soldiers, were, in the name of the law, to enter 
every dwelling. Each citizen should show what 
arms he had. If any thing excited suspicion, 
the individual and his premises were to be 
searched with the utmost vigilance. If the 
slightest deception had been practiced, in deny 
ing or in not fully confessing any suspicious ap- 
pearances, the person was to be arrested and im- 
prisoned. If a person were found in any dwell- 
ing but his own, he was to be imprisoned as un- 
der suspioion. Guards were to be placed in all 
unoccupied houses. A double cordon of soldiers 
were stationed around the walls, to arrest all 
who should attempt to escape. Armed boats 
floated upon the Seine, at the two extremities 
of Paris, that every possible passage of escape 
might be closed. Gardens, groves, promenades, 
all were to be searched. 

With so much energy was this work conduct- 

158 Madame Roland. [1792 

Opening of the catacomb*. Terror of the people 

©d, that that very night a body of workmen were 
sent, with torches and suitable tools, to open an 
access to the subterranean burial-grounds ex« 
tending under a portion of Paris, that a speedy 
disposal might be made of the anticipated mul- 
titude of dead bodies. The decree, conveying 
terror to ten thousand bosoms, spread with the 
rapidity of lightning through the streets and the 
dwellings of Paris. Every one who had ex 
pressed a sentiment of loyalty ; every one who 
had a friend who was an emigrant or a loyalist ; 
every one who had uttered a word of oensure 
in reference to the sanguinary atrocities of the 
Revolution ; every one who inherited an illustri- 
ous name, or who had an unfriendly neighbor 
or an inimical servant, trembled at the swift 
approach of the impending doom. 

Bands of men, armed with pikes, brought 
into power from the dregs of society, insolent, 
merciless, and resistless, accompanied by mar- 
tial musio, traversed the streets in all direc- 
tions. As the commissaries knocked at a door, 
the family within were pale and paralyzed with 
terror. The brutal inquisitors appeared to de- 
light in the anguish which their stern office ex^ 
torted, and the more refined the family in oul- 
ture or the more elevated in rank, the more se- 

1792.] The Jacobiws. 159 

Scenes of terror. Vain attempts at concealment 

verely did vulgarity in power trample theoi in 
the dust of humiliation. They took with them 
workmen acquainted with all possible modes 
of concealment. They broke locks, burst in 
panels, cut open beds and mattresses, tore up 
floors, sounded wells, explored garrets and cel- 
lars for secret doors and vaults, and could they 
find in any house an individual whom affection 
or hospitality had sheltered, a rusty gun, an 
old picture of any member of the royal family, 
a button with the royal arms, a letter from a 
suspected person, or containing a sentiment 
Against the " Reign of Terror," the father was 
instantly and rudely torn from his home, his 
wife, his children, and hurried with ignomini- 
ous violence, as a traitor unfit to live, through 
the streets, to the prison. It was a night of 
woe in Paris. 

The friends of the monarchy soon found all 
efforts at concealment unavailing. They had 
at first crept into chimneys, from which they 
were soon smoked out. They had concealed 
themselves behind tapestry. But pikes and bay- 
onets were with derision thrust through their 
Dodies. They had burrowed in holes in the cel- 
lars, and endeavored to blind the eye of pursuit 
oy coverings of barrels, or lumber, or wood, or 

160 Madame Roland. [1792 

Numbers arrested. The priests. 

coal. But tag stratagems of affection were 
equally matched by the sagacity of revolution- 
ary phrensy, and the doomed were dragged to 
light. Many of the Royalists had fled to the 
hospitals, where, in the wards of infection, they 
shared the beds of the dead and the dying. But 
even there they were followed and arrested. 
The domiciliary visits were continued for three 
days. " The whole city was like a prisoner, 
whose limbs are held while he is searched 
and fettered." Ten thousand suspected per- 
sons were seized and committed to the prisons. 
Many were massacred in their dwellings or in 
the streets. Some were subsequently libera- 
ted, as having been unjustly arrested. 

Thirty priests were dragged into a room at 
the Hotel de Ville. Five coaches, each con- 
taining six of the obnoxious prisoners, started 
to oonvey thom to the prison of the Abbaye. 
A countless mob gathered around them as an 
alarm-gun gave the signal for the coaches to 
proceed on their way. The windows were open 
ihat the populace might see those whom thiey 
deemed traitors to their country, and whriri 
they believed to be ready to join the army of 
invasion, now so triumphantly approaching 
Every moment the mob increased in density, 

1792.] Tub Jacobins. 161 

A human fiend. Butchery of the priert*. 

and with difficulty the coaches wormed their 
way through the tumultuous gatherings. Oaths 
and execrations rose on every side. Gestures 
and threats of violence were fearfully increas- 
ing, when a vast multitude of men, and women, 
and boys came roaring down a cross-street, and 
so completely blocked up the way that a peace- 
ful passage was impossible. The carriages stop- 
ped. A man with his shirt-sleeves rolled up to 
the elbows, and a glittering saber in his hand, 
forced his way through the escort, and, deliber 
ately standing upon the steps of one of the coach 
es, clinging with one hand to the door, plunged 
again, and again, and again his saber into the 
bodies of the priests, wherever chance might di- 
rect it. He drew it out reeking with blood, 
and waved it before the people. A hideous yell 
of applause rose from the multitude, and again 
he plunged his saber into the carriage. The as- 
sassin then passed to the next coach, and again 
enacted the same act of horrid butchery upon the 
struggling priests crowded into the carriages, 
with no shield and with no escape. Thus he 
went, from one to the other, through the whole 
line of coaches, while the armed escort looked 
on with derisive laughter, and shouts of fiend- 
ish exultation rose from the phrensied muiti- 

162 Madame Rmland. [1795ft 

Antral at the prtion. Prison tribunal 

tude. The mounted troops slowly forced open 
a passage for the carriages, and they moved 
along, marking their passage by the streams of 
Kood which dripped, from their dead and dying 
inmates, upon the pavements. When they ar- 
rived at the prison, eight dead bodies were drag- 
ged from the floor of the vehicles, and many of 
those not dead were horridly mutilated and clot- 
ted with gore. The wretched victims precipi- 
tated themselves with the utmost consternation 
into the prison, as a retreat from the billows of 
rage surging and roaring around them. 

But the scene within was still more terrible 
than that without. In the spacious hall open- 
ing into the court-yard of the prison there was 
a table, around which sat twelve men. Their 
brawny limbs, and coarse and brutal coun- 
tenances, proclaimed them familiar with de- 
bauch and blood. Their attire was that of the 
lowest class in society, with woolen caps on 
their heads, shirt sleeves rolled up, unembar- 
rassed by either vest or coat, and butchers* 
aprons bound around them. At the head of 
the table sat Maillard, at that time the idol of 
the blood-thirsty mob of Paris. These men 
composed a self-constituted tribunal to award 
Life or instant death to those brought before 

1792.J The Jacobins. 103 

MasMcre in the prison*. Wmdiah orgies 

them. First appeared one hundred and fifty 
Swiss officers and soldiers who had been in the 
employ of the king. They were brought en 
masse before the tribunal. " You have assas- 
sinated the people," said Maillard, " and they 
demand vengeance." The door was open. The 
assassins in the court-yard, with weapons reek- 
ing with blood, were howling for their prey. 
The soldiers were driven into the yard, and they 
fell beneath the blows of bayonets, sabers, and 
clubs, and their gory bodies were piled up, a 
hideous mound, in the corners of the court. The 
priests, without delay, met with the same fate. 
A moment sufficed for trial, and verdict, and 
execution. Night came. Brandy and excite- 
ment had roused the demon in the human 
heart. Life was a plaything, murder a pas- 
time. Torches were lighted, refreshments in- 
troduced, songs of mirth and joviality rose upon 
the night air, and still the horrid carnage con- 
tinued unabated. Now and then, from caprice, 
one was liberated ; but the innocent and the 
guilty fell alike. Suspicion was crime. An 
illustrious name was guilt. There was no time 
for defense. A frown from the judge was fol- 
lowed by a blow from the assassin. A similar 
•cene was transpiring in all the urisons of Par- 

164 Madame Roland. [1792 

Female spectators. Character of the ilillim 

is. Carts were continually arriving to remove 
the dead bodies, which accumulated much fast- 
er than they could be borne away. The court- 
yards became wet and slippery with blood. 
Straw was brought in and strewn thickly over 
the stones, and benches were placed against the 
walls to accommodate those women who wish- 
ed to gaze upon the butchery. The benches 
were immediately filled with females, exulting 
in the death of all whom they deemed tainted 
with aristocraoy, and rejoicing to see the ex- 
alted and the refined falling beneath the clubs 
of the ragged and the degraded. The murder- 
ers made use of the bodies of the dead for seats, 
upon which they drank their brandy mingled 
with gunpowder, and smoked their pipes. In 
the nine prisons of Paris these horrors contin- 
ued unabated till they were emptied of their 
victims. Men most illustrious in philanthropy, 
/ank, and virtue, were brained with clubs by 
overgrown boys, who accompanied their blows 
with fiendish laughter. Ladies of the highest 
accomplishments, of exalted beauty and of spot- 
less purity, were hacked in pieces by the low- 
est wretches who had crawled from the dens of 
pollution, and their dismembered limbs were 
borne on the points of pikes in derision through 

1792.] The Jacobins. 165 

The Blcetre. Number* mMMere4 

the streets of the metropolis. Children, even, 
were involved in this blind slaughter. The)' 
were called the cubs of aristocraoy. 

We can not enter more minutely into the 
details of these sickening scenes, for the soul 
turns from them weary of life ; and yet thus 
far we must go, for it is important that all eyes 
should read this dreadful yet instructive lesson 
— that all may know that there is no despotism 
so dreadful as the despotism of anarchy — that 
there are no laws more to be abhorred than the 
absence of all law. 

In the prison of the Bicetre there were three 
thousand five hundred captives. The ruffians 
forced the gates, drove in the dungeon doors 
with cannon, and for five days and ^ivq nights 
continued the slaughter. The phrensy of the 
intoxicated mob increased each day, and hordes 
came pouring out from all the foul dens of pol- 
lution greedy for carnage. The fevered thirst 
for blood was inextinguishable. No tongue can 
now tell the number of the victims. The man- 
gled bodies were hurried to the catacombs, and 
thrown into an indiscriminate heap of corrup- 
tion. By many it is estimated that more than 
ten thousand fell during these massacres. The 
tidings of these outrages spread through all the 

166 Madams Roland. [179a 

Girls sent to the guillotine. Their heroism 

provinces of France, and stimulated to similar 
atrocities the mob in every city. At Orleans 
the houses of merchants were sacked, the mer- 
chants and others of wealth or high standing 
massacred, while some who had offered resist- 
ance were burned at slow fires. 

In one town, in the vicinity of the Prussian 
army, some Loyalist gentlemen, sanguine in 
view of the success of their friends, got up an 
entertainment in honor of their victories. At 
this entertainment their daughters danced. The 
young ladies were all arrested, fourteen in num- 
ber, and taken in a cart to the guillotine. 
These young and beautiful girls, all between 
the ages of fourteen and eighteen, and from the 
most refined and opulent families, were behead- 
ed. The group of youth and innocence stood 
clustered at the foot of the scaffold, while, one 
by one, their companions ascended, were bound 
to the plank, the ax fell, and their heads drop- 
ped into the basket. It seems that there must 
have been some supernatural power of support 
to have sustained children under so awful an 
ordeal. There were no faintings, no loud lan> 
entations, no shrieks of despair. With the se* 
renity of martyrs they met their fate, eaoh one 
emulous of showing to her companion* how 
much like a heroine she could die. 

1792.| The J^coBiifs. 167 

The MM<M rewarded. They threaten their Instigator* 

These scenes were enacted at the instigation 
of the Jacobins. Danton and Marat urged on 
these merciless measures of lawless violence. 
" We must," said they, " strike terror into the 
hearts of our foes. It is our only safety." 
They sent agents into the most degraded quar- 
ters of the city to rouse and direct the mob. 
They voted abundant supplies to the wretched 
assassins who had broken into the prisons, and 
involved youth and age, and innocence and 
guilt, in indiscriminate carnage. The murder- 
ers, reeking in intoxication and besmeared with 
blood, came in crowds to the door of the mu- 
nicipality to claim their reward. M Do you 
think," said a brawny, gigantic wretch, with 
tucked-up sleeves, in the garb of a butcher, and 
with his whole person bespattered with blood 
and brains, " do you think that I have earned 
but twenty-four francs to-day ? I have killed 
forty aristocrats with my own hands !" The 
money was soon exhausted, and still the crowd 
of assassins thronged the committee. Indig* 
nant that their olaims were not instantly dis- 
charged, they presented their bloody weapons at 
the throats of their instigators, and threatened 
them with immediate death if the money were 
not furnished. Thus urged, the committee sue- 

168 Madame Roland. [1792. 

Ascendency of the mob. Peril of the Girondist* 

oeeded in paying one half the sum, and gave 
bonds for the rest. 

M. Roland was almost frantic in view of these 
horrors, which he had no power to quell. The 
mob, headed by the Jacobins, had now the com- 
plete ascendency, and he was minister but in 
name. He urged upon the Assembly the adop- 
tion of immediate and energetic measures to ar- 
rest these execrable deeds of lawless violence. 
Many of the Girondists in the Assembly gave 
vehement but unavailing utterance to their ex- 
ecration of the massacres. Others were intim- 
idated by the weapon which the Jacobins wore 
now so effectually wielding ; for they knew that 
it might not be very difficult so to direct the 
fury of the mob as to turn those sharp blades, 
now dripping with blood, from the prisons into 
the hall of Assembly, and upon the throats of 
all obnoxious to Jacobin power. The Girond- 
ists trembled in view of their danger. They 
had aided in opening the sluice-ways of a tor- 
rent which was now sweeping every thing be- 
fore it. Madame Roland distinctly saw and 
deeply felt the peril to which she and her friends 
were exposed. She knew, and they all knew, 
that defeat was death. The great struggle now 
In the Assembly was for the popular voioe 

1792.J The Jacobin a 169 

The Aunmbly turronnded. Adrotouom of the JaoobJa* 

The Girondists hoped, though almost in de- 
spair, that it was not yet too late to show the 
people the horrors of anarchy, and to rally 
around themselves the multitude to sustain a 
well-established and law-revering republic. The 
Jacobins determined to send their opponents tc 
t)he scaffold, and by the aid of the terrors of the 
mob, now enlisted on their side, resistlessly to 
carry all their measures. A hint from the Jac- 
obin leaders surrounded the Assembly with the 
hideous howlings of a haggard concourse of be- 
ings just as merciless and demoniac as lost 
spirits. They exhibited these allies to the Gi- 
rondists as a bull-dog shows his teeth. 

In speeches, and placards, and proclamations 
they declared the Girondists to be, in heart, the 
enemies of the Republic. They accused them 
of hating the Revolution in consequence of its 
necessary severity, and of plotting in secret for 
the restoration of the king. With great adroit- 
ness, they introduced measures which the Gi- 
rondists must either support, and thus aid the 
Jacobins, or oppose, and increase the suspicion 
of the populace, and rouse their rage against 
them. The allied army, with seven thousand 
Frenoh emigrants and over a hundred thousand 
highly-disciplined troops, under the most *bl« 

170 Madame Roland. [1792 

^dvmaee of tha &Dlo«. Robespierre tad Dante© 


and experienoed generals, was slowly but sure- 
ly advanoing toward Paris, to release the king, 
replace him on the throne, and avenge the in- 
sults to royalty. The booming of their artil- 
lery was heard reverberating among the hills 
of France, ever drawing nearer and nearer to 
the insurgent metropolis, and sending conster- 
nation into all hearts. Under these circum- 
stances, the Jacobins, having massacred those 
deemed the friends of the aristocrats, now gath- 
ered their strength to sweep before them all their 
adversaries. They passed a decree ordering 
every man in Paris, capable of bearing arms, 
to shoulder his musket and march to the front- 
iers to meet the invaders. If money was want- 
ed, it was only necessary to send to the guillo- 
tine the aristocrat who possessed it, and to con- 
fiscate his estate. 

Robespierre and Danton had now broken off 
all intimacy with Madame Roland and her 
friends. They no longer appeared in the little 
library where the Girondist leaders so often 
met, but, plaoing themselves at the head of the 
unorganized and tumultuous party now so rap- 
idly gaining the ascendency, they were swept 
before it as the crest is borne by the billow 
Madame Roland urged most strenuously upon 

1792] The Jacobins. 171 

Bold measures proposed by Madame Roland. 

her friends that those persons in the Assembly, 
the leaders of the Jacobin party, who had insti- 
gated the massacres in the prisons, should be 
accused, and brought to trial and punishment. 
It required peculiar boldness, at that hour, to ac- 
cuse Robespierre and Danton of crime. Though 
thousands in France were horror-stricken at 
these outrages, the mob, who now ruled Paris, 
would rally instantaneously at the sound of the 
tocsin for the protection of their idols. 

Madame Roland was one evening urging 
Vergniaud to take that heroic and desperate 
stand. " The only hope for France," said she 
" is in the sacredness of law. This atrocious 
oarnage causes thousands of bosoms to thril 
with horror, and all the wise and the good in 
France and in the world will rise to sustain 
those who expose their own hearts as a barrier 
to arrest such enormities." 

" Of what avail," was the reply, in tones of 
Badness, " can such exertions be ? The assas- 
sins are supported by all the power of the street. 
Such a conflict must necessarily terminate in 
a street fight. The cannon are with our foes. 
The most prominent of the friends of order are 
massacred. Terror wiL restrain the rest. W* 
ehall only provoke our own destruction " 

172 Madame Roland. [1792 

Decisive stand taken by MM. Roland and Vergnland. 

"Of what use is life," rejoins the intrepid 
woman, " if we must live in this base subjeo 
Hon to a degraded mob ? Let us contend foi 
the right, and if we must die, let us rejoioe tc 
die with dignity and with heroism." 

Though despairing of success, and apprehen- 
sive that their own doom was already sealed, 
M. Roland and Vergniaud, roused to action by 
this ruling spirit, the next day made their ap- 
pearance in the Assembly with the heroic re- 
solve to throw themselves before the torrent 
now rushing so wildly. They stood there, how- 
ever, but the representatives of Madame Ro- 
land, inspired by her energies, and giving utter- 
ance to those eloquent sentiments whioh had 
burst from her lips. 

The Assembly listened in silence as M. Ro- 
land, in an energetic discourse, proclaimed the 
true principles of law and order, and called upon 
the Assembly to defend its own dignity against 
popular violence, and to raise an armed force 
consecrated to the security of liberty and jus- 
tice. Encouraged by these appearances of re- 
turning moderation, others of the Girondists 
rose, and, with great boldness and vehemence, 
urged deoisive action. " It requires some cour^ 
age," said Kersaint, '* to rise up here against &* 

1792.] The Jacobins. 173 

The Girondists defeated. Resignation of M. Roland 

sassins, but it is time to ereot scaffolds for those 
who provoke assassination." The strife con- 
tinued for two or three days, with that intense 
ex z dement which a confliot for life or death 
must necessarily engender. The question be- 
tween the Girondist and the Jacobin was, " Who 
shall lie down on the guillotine ?" For some 
time the issue of the struggle was uncertain. 
The Jacobins summoned their allies, the mob. 
They surrounded the doors and the windows of 
the Assembly, and with their howlings sustained 
their friends. " I have just passed through the 
crowd," said a member, " and have witnessed 
its excitement. If the act of accusation is car- 
ried, many a head will lie low before another 
morning dawns." The Girondists found them- 
selves, at the close of the struggle, defeated, yet 
not so deoidedly but that they still clung to hope. 
M. Roland, who had not yet entirely lost, with 
the people, that popularity which swept him, on 
so triumphant a billow, again into the office of 
Minister of the Interior, now, conscious of his 
utter impotency, presented to the Assembly his 
resignation of power which was merely nomin- 
al. Great efforts had for some time been made, 
by his adversaries, to turn the tide of popular 
hatred against him, and especially against his 

174 Madame Roland. [1792 

Attack* upon Madame Roland. How recttired In the Aatmihly 

wife, whom Danton and Robespierre recognized 
and proclaimed as the animating and inspiring 
•cul of the Girondist party. 

The friends of Roland urged, with high enco- 
miums upon his character, that he should be 
invited to retain his post. The sentiment of 
the Assembly was wavering in his favor. Dan- 
ton, excessively annoyed, arose and said, with a 
sneer, " I oppose the invitation. Nobody ap- 
preciates M. Roland more justly than myself. 
But if you give him this invitation, you must 
give his wife one also. Every one knows that 
M. Roland is not alone in his department. As 
for myself, in my department I am alone I 
have no wife to help me." 

These indecorous and malicious allusionc 
were received with shouts of derisive laughter 
from the Jacobin benches. The majority, how- 
ever, frowned upon Danton with deep reproach- 
es for such an attack upon a lady. One of the 
Girondists immediately ascended the tribune. 
"What signifies it to the country," said he, 
" whether Roland possesses an intelligent wife, 
who inspires him with her additional energy, or 
whether he acts from his own resolution alone ?" 
The defense was received with much applause. 

The next day, Roland, as Minister of the In- 

1792.] Thi Jacobins. 175 

Letter from M. Roland. Its lofty ton*. 

terior, presented a letter to the Convention, ex- 
pressing his determination to continue in office. 
It was written by Madame Roland in strains 
of most glowing eloquence, and in the spirit of 
the loftiest heroism and the most dignified de- 
fiance. "The Convention is wise," said this 
letter, " in not giving a solemn invitation to a 
man to remain in the ministry. It would at- 
tach too great importance to a name. But the 
deliberation honors me, and clearly pronounces 
the desire of the Convention. That wish sat- 
isfies me. It opens to me the career. I es- 
pouse it with courage. I remain in the minis- 
try. I remain because there are perils to face. 
I am not blind to them, but I brave them fear- 
lessly. The salvation of my country is the ob- 
ject in view. To that I devote myself, even to 
death. I am accused of wanting courage. Is 
no courage requisite in these times in denounc- 
ing the protectors of assassins ?" 

Thus Madame Roland, sheltered in tKe se- 
el ision of her library, met, in spirit, in the 
fierce struggle of the tribune, Robespierre, Dan- 
ton, and Marat. They knew from whose shafts 
these keen arrows were shot. The Girondists 
knew to whom they were indebted for many of 
the most skillful parries and retaliatory blows, 

17ff Madame Roland. [1792 

Danton seeks a reconciliation. His ftiimrfc, 

The one party looked to her almost with ado- 
ration ; the other, with implacable hate. Nev« 
er before, probably, in the history of the world, 
has a woman occupied such a position, and nev- 
er by a woman will such a position be occupied 
again. Danton began to recoil from the gulf 
opening before him, and wished to return to al- 
liance with the Girondists. He expressed the 
most profound admiration for the talents, ener- 
gy, and sagacity of Madame Roland. " We 
must act together," said he, " or the wave of 
the Revolution will overwhelm us all. United, 
we can stem it. Disunited, it will overpower 
us." Again he appeared in the library of Ma- 
dame Roland, in a last interview with the Gi- 
rondists. He desired a coalition. They could 
not agree. Danton insisted that they must 
overlook the massacres, and give at least an 
implied h >sent to their necessity. " We will 
agree to all," said the Girondist ', " except im- 
punity to murderers and their accomplices." 
The conference was broken up. Danton, irri- 
tated, withdrew, and placed himself by the side 
of Robespierre. Again the Jacobins and the 
Girondists prepared for the renewal of their 
struggle. It was not a struggle for power 
merely, but for life. The Girondists, knowing 

1792.] The jacobins, 177 

Plans of the Jacobin* Fearleisnets of Madamo R o l led. 

that the fury of the Revolution would soon 
sweep over every thing, unless they eould bring 
back the people to a sense of justice — would 
punish with the scaffold those who had incited 
the massacre of thousands of uncondemned cit- 
izens. The Jacobins would rid themselves of 
their adversaries by overwhelming them in the 
same carnage to which they had consigned the 
Loyalists. Madame Roland might have fled 
from these perils, and have retired with her 
husband to regions of tranquillity and of safety 
out she urged M. Roland to remain at his post 
and resolved to remain herself and meet her 
destiny, whatever it might be. Never did a 
mortal face danger, with a full appreciation of 
its magnitude, with more stoicism than was ex- 
hibited by this most ardent and enthusiastic of 


178 Madame Roland. [1792 

The Jacobina reaelre to bring the king to trial Famine in Pari* 

Chapter VIII. 

Last Struggles of the Girondists, 

FlTl HE Jacobins now resolved to bring the 
■*■ king to trial. By placards posted in the 
streets, by inflammatory speeches in the Con- 
vention, in public gatherings, and in the clubs, 
by false assertions and slanders of every con- 
ceivable nature, they had roused the ignorant 
populace to the full conviction that the king 
was the author of every calamity now impend- 
ing. The storm of the Revolution had swept 
desolation through all the walks of peaceful in- 
dustry. Starvation, gaunt and terrible, began 
to stare the population of Paris directly in the 
face. The infuriated mob hung the bakers 
upon the lamp-posts before their own doors for 
refusing to supply them with bread. The peas- 
ant dared not carry provisions into the city, for 
he was sure of being robbed by the sovereign 
people, who had attained the freedom of com- 
mitting all crimes with impunity. The multi- 
tude fully believed that there was a conspiracy 
formed by the king in his prison, and by the 

1792.1 The Girondists. 179 

Sstpldous against the Girondi»U. Basenes* of the Jeeobiao. 

friends of royalty, to starve the people into sub- 
jection. Portentous murmurs were now also 
borne on every breeze, uttered by a thousand 
unseen voices, that the Girondists were accom- 
plices in this conspiracy ; that they hated the 
Revolution ; that they wished to save the life 
of the king ; that they would welcome the army 
of invasion, as affording them an opportunity to 
reinstate Louis upon the throne. The Jaco- 
bins, it was declared, were the only true friends 
of the people. The Girondists were accused 
of being in league with the aristocrats. These 
suspicions rose and floated over Paris like the 
mist of the ocean. They were every where en- 
countered, and yet presented no resistance to be 
assailed. They were intimated in the Jacobin 
journals ; they were suggested, with daily in- 
creasing distinctness, at the tribune. And in 
those multitudinous gatherings, where Marat 
stood in filth and rags to harangue the misera- 
ble, and the vicious, and the starving, they were 
proclaimed loudly, and with execrations. The 
Jacobins rejoiced that they had now, by the 
force of circumstances, crowded their adversa- 
ries into a position from which they could not 
easily extricate themselves. Should the Gi- 
rondists vote for the death of the king, they 

180 Madame Roland. [1792, 

Peril of the Girondists. Anxious deliberation! 

would thus support the Jacobins in those san- 
guinary measures, so popular with the mob, 
which had now become the right arm of Jaco- 
bin power. The glory would also ail redound to 
the Jacobins, for it would not be difficult to con- 
vince the multitude that the Girondists merely 
submitted to a measure which they were un- 
able to resist. Should the Girondists, on the 
other hand, true to their instinctive abhorrence 
of these deeds of blood, dare to vote against the 
death of the king, they would be ruined irre- 
trievably. They would then stand unmasked 
before the people as traitors to the Republics 
and the friends of royalty. Like noxious beasts, 
they would be hunted through the streets and 
massacred at their own firesides. The Girond- 
ists perceived distinctly the vortex of destnlo- 
tion toward which they were so rapidly circling. 
Many and anxious were their deliberations, 
night after night, in the library of Madame Ro- 
land. In the midst of the fearful peril, it was 
not easy to decide what either duty or apparent 
policv required. 

The Jacobins now made a direot and infa 
mous attempt to turn the rage of the populaoe 
against Madame Roland. Aohille Viard, one 
of those unprincipled adventurers with whioh 

1792.] The Girondists. 181 

▼He intrigue of the Jacobins. Madame Roland accused. 

the stormy times had filled he metropolis, was 
employed, as a spy, to feign attachment to the 
Girondist party, and to seek the acquaintance, 
and insinuate himself into the confidence of Ma- 
dame Roland. By perversions and exaggera- 
tions of her language, he was to fabricate an 
accusation against her which would bring her 
head to the scaffold. Madame Roland instant- 
ly penetrated his character, and he was repulsed 
from her presence by the most contemptuous 
neglect. He, however, appeared before the 
Assembly as her accuser, and charged her with 
carrying on a secret correspondence with per- 
sons of influence at home and abroad, to protect 
the king. She was summoned to present herself 
before the Convention, to confront her accuser, 
and defend herself from the scaffold. Her gen- 
tle yet imperial spirit was undaunted by the 
magnitude of the peril. Her name had often 
been mentioned in the Assembly as the inspir- 
ing genius of the most influential and eloquent 
party which had risen up amid the storms of 
the Revolution. Her talents, her accomplish- 
ments, her fascinating conversational eloquence, 
had spread her renown widely through Europe. 
A large number of the most illustrious men in 
that legislative hall, both ardent young men 

182 Madame Roland [J 782 

Itftd&me Roumd before the Assembly. Her dignified demeaaoz 

and those venerable with age, regarded her with 
the most profound admiration — almost with re- 
ligious homage. Others, conscious of her pow- 
er, and often foiled by her sagacity, hated her 
with implacable hatred, and determined, either 
by the ax of the guillotine or by the poniard of 
the assassin, to remove her from their way. 

The aspect of a young and beautiful woman, 
combining in her person aDd mind all the at- 
tractions of nature and genius, with her cheek 
glowing with heroic resolution, and her demean- 
or exhibiting the most perfect feminine loveli- 
ness and modesty, entering this vast assembly 
of irritated men to speak in defense of her life, 
at once hushed the clamor of hoarse voices, and 
subdued the rage of angry disputants. Silence 
the most respectful instantly filled the hall. 
Every eye was fixed upon her. The hearts of 
her friends throbbed with sympathy and with 
love. Her enemies were more than half dis- 
armed, and wished that they, also, were honor- 
ed as her friends. She stood before the bar. 

"What is your name?" inquired the pres- 

She paused for a moment, and then, fixing 
her eye oalmly upon her interrogator, in those 
elear and liquid tones which left their vibration 

179 ] The Girondists. 183 

tfadame Roland's defense of heraelf. She li acquitted by acclamation 

apon the ear long after her voice was hushed in 
death, answered, 

" Roland ! a name of which I am proud, for 
Vt is that of a good and an honorable man." 

" Do you know Achille Viard ?" the president 

"I have once, and but once, seen him." 
" What has passed between you ?" 
" Twice he has written to me, soliciting an 
interview. Once I saw him. After a short con- 
versation, I perceived that he was a spy, and 
dismissed him with the contempt he deserved." 
The calm dignity of her replies, the ingenu- 
ous frankness of her manners, and the manifest 
malice and falsehood of Viard's accusation, 
made even her enemies ashamed of their un- 
chivalrous prosecution. Briefly, in tremulous 
tones of voice, but with a spirit of firmness which 
no terrors could daunt, she entered upon her 
defense. It was the first time that a female 
voice had been heard in the midst of the clamor 
of these enraged combatants. The Assembly, 
unused to such a scene, were fascinated by hei 
attractive eloquence. Viard, convioted of mean 
noss, and treaohery, and falsehood, dared not 
open his lips. Madame Roland was acquitted 
by acclamation. Upon the spot the president 

J84 Madame Roland. [1792 

Madame Roland's triumph. Chagrin of nor enemiea 

proposed that the marked respect of the Con- 
vention be conferred upon Madame Roland. 
With enthusiasm the resolution was carried. 
As she retired from the hall, her bosom glow- 
ing with the exoitement of the perfect triumph 
she had won, her ear was greeted with the en- 
thusiastic applause of the whole assembly. The 
eyes of all France had been attracted to her as 
she thus defended herself and her friends, and 
confounded her enemies. Marat gnashed his 
teeth with rage. Danton was gloomy and si- 
lent. Robespierre, vanquished by charms which 
had so often before enthralled him, expressed 
nis contempt for the conspiracy, and, for the 
last time, smiled upon his early friend, whom 
he soon, with the most stoical indifference, 
dragged to the scaffold. 

The evening after the overthrow of the mon- 
archy and the establishment of the Republic, 
when there was still some faint hope that there 
might yet be founl intelligence and virtue in 
the people to sustain the Constitution, the Gi- 
rondists met at Madame Roland's, and cele- 
brated, with trembling exultation, the birth of 
popular liberty. The Constitution of the Unit- 
ed States was the beau ideal of the Girt ndiste, 
and, vainly dreaming that the institutions which 

1792.] The Girondists. 185 

FestJral of the Girondist*. ToMt of V«rgm«uL 

Washington and hl« compatriots had establish- 
ed in Christian America were now firmly plant- 
ed in infidel France, they endeavored to cast the 
veil of oblivion over the past, and to spread over 
the future the illusions of hope. The men here 
assembled were the most illustrious of the na- 
tion. Noble sentiments passed from mind to 
mind. Madame Roland, pale with emotion, 
conscious of the perils which were so porten- 
tously rising around them, shone with a preter- 
natural brilliance in the solemn rejoicing of that 
evening. The aged Roland gazed with tears 
of fond affection and of gratified pride upon his 
lovely wife, as if in spirit asking her if all the 
loftiest aspirations of their souls were not now 
answered. The victorious Republicans hardly 
knew whether to sing triumphant songs or fu- 
neral dirges. Vergniaud, the renowned orator 
of the party, was prominent above them alL 
With a pale cheek, and a serene and pensive 
smile, he sat in silence, his mind evidently wan- 
dering among the rising apparitions of the fu- 
ture. At the close of the supper he filled his 
glass, and rising, proposed to drink to the eter- 
nity of the Republic. Madame Roland, whose 
mind war ever rilled with classic recollections, 
•oattared from a bouquet which she held in her 

186 Madams Rolanu [179k 

CUfldcal alliuion. Clamor* for tt»» kiaf't death 

hand, some rose leaves on the wine in his glass. 
Vergniaud drank the wine, and then said, in a 
low voice, " We should quaff cypress leaves, 
not rose leaves, in our wine to-night. In drink 
ing to a republic, stained, at its birth, with the 
blood of massacre, who knows but that we drink 
to our own death. But no matter. Were this 
wine my own blood, I would drain it to liberty 
and equality." All the guests, with enthusi- 
asm, responded, "Vive la Republique /" After 
dinner, Roland read to the company a paper 
drawn up by himself and wife in reference tc 
the state of the Republic, which views were to 
be presented the next day to the Convention. 

The royal family were still in the dungeons of 
the Temple, lingering through the dreary hours 
of the most desolate imprisonment. Phrensied 
mobs, rioting through the streets of Paris, and 
overawing all law, demanded, with loudest ex- 
ecrations, the death of the king. A man hav- 
ing ventured to say that he thought that the 
Republio might be established without shedding 
the blood of Louis, was immediately stabbed to 
the heart, and his mutilated remains were drag- 
ged through the streets of Paris in fiendish rev- 
elry. A poor vender of pamphlets and newspa- 
pers, coming out of a reading-room, was aooused 

17li3.J The Girondists. 187 

Tbe king brought before the Convention. Dbnnal day 

of selling books favorable to royalty. The sus- 
picion was crime, and he fell, pierced by thirty 
daggers. Suoh warnings as these were signif- 
icant and impressive, and few dared utter a 
word in favor of the king. 

It was the month of January, 1793, when 
the imprisoned monarch was brought into the 
hall of the Convention for his trial. It was a 
gloomy day for France, and all external na- 
ture seemed shrouded in darkness and sorrow. 
Clouds of mist were sweeping through the ohill 
air, and a few feeble lamps glimmered along the 
narrow avenues and gloomy passages, which 
were darkened by the approach of a winter's 
night. Armed soldiers surrounded the build- 
ing. Heavy pieces of artillery faced every 
approaoh. Cannoneers, with lighted matches, 
stood at their side, ready to scatter a storm of 
grape-shot upon every foe. A mob of countless 
thousands were surging to and fro through all 
the neighboring streets. The deep, dull mur- 
murings of the multitude swelled in unison with 
the sighings of the storm rising upon the som- 
ber night. It was with no little difficulty that 
the deputies could foroe their way through the 
ooean of human beings surrounding the Assem- 
bly. The coarse garb, the angry features, the 

188 Madame Roland. [1793. 

Menaces of toe mob. Dan ion, Marat, and Robeaplarra 

harsh voices, the fierce and significant gestures, 
proclaimed too dearly that the mob had determ- 
ined to have the life of the king, and that, un- 
less the deputies should vote his death, both 
king and deputies should perish together. Aa 
each deputy threaded his way through the 
thronging masses, he heard, in threatening 
tones, muttered into his ear deep and emphat- 
ic, "His death or thine!" 

Persons who were familiar with the faces ol 
all the members were stationed at particular 
points, and called out aloud to the multitude the 
names of the deputies as they elbowed their way 
through the surging multitudes. At the names 
of Danton, Marat, Robespierre, the ranks opened 
to make way for these idols of the populace, and 
shouts of the most enthusiastic greeting fell 
upon their ears. When the names of Verg- 
niaud, Brissot, and others of the leading Gi- 
rondists were mentioned, clinched fists, brand- 
ished daggers, and angry menaces declared that 
those who refused to obey the wishes of the peo- 
ple should encounter dire revenge. The very 
sentinels placed to guard the deputies encour- 
aged the mob to insult and violence. The lob- 
bies were filled with the most sanguinary ruf- 
fians of Paris. The interior of the hail wat 

1793.] The Girondists 189 

Trial of th a king. Proposition of Robes pierre 

dimly lighted. A chandelier, suspended from 
the center of the ceiling, illuminated certain 
portions of the room, while the more distant 
parts remained in deep obscurity. That all 
might act under the full sense of their respons- 
ibility to the mob, Robespierre had proposed 
and carried the vote that the silent form of bal- 
lot should be rejected, and that each deputy, in 
his turn, should ascend the tribune, and, with 
a distinct voice, announce his sentence. For 
some time after the voting commenced it was 
quite uncertain how the decision would turn. 
In the alternate record of the vote, death and 
exile appeared to be equally balanced. All now 
depended upon the course which the Girondists 
should pursue. If they should vote for death, 
the doom of the king was sealed. Vergniaud 
was the first of that party to be called to record 
his sentence. It was well known that he look- 
ed with repugnance and horror upon the san- 
guinary scenes with which the Revolution had 
been deformed, and that he had often avowed 
his sympathy for the hard fate of a prince whose 
greatest crime was weakness. His vote would 
unquestionably be the index of that of the whole 
party, and thus the life or death of the king ap- 
peared to be suspended from his lips. It was 

L90 Madamb Roland. [1793 

Voto of Vergslsmd. Vote of the Girondist* 

known that the very evening before, while sup- 
ping with a lady who expressed much commis- 
eration for the captives in the Temple, he had 
declared that he would save the life of the king. 
The courage of Vergniaud was above suspicion, 
and his integrity above reproach. Difficult as 
it was to judge impartially, with the cannon and 
the pikes of the mob leveled at his breast, it was 
not doubted that he would voto conscientiously. 

As the name of Vergniaud was called, all con- 
versation instantly ceased. Perfect silence per- 
vaded the hall, and every eye was riveted upon 
him. Slowly he ascended the steps of the trib- 
une. His brow was calm, but his mouth olose- 
ly compressed, as if to sustain some firm resolve. 
He paused for a moment, and the Assembly was 
breathless with suspense. He contracted his 
eyebrows, as if again reflecting upon his deci- 
sion, and then, in a low, solemn, firm voice, ut- 
tered the word " Death" 

The most profound silence reigned for a mo 
nient, and then again the low murmur of sup- 
pressed conversation filled the hall. Vergniaud 
descended from the tribune and disappeared in 
the crowd. All hope for the king was now gone. 
The rest of the Girondists also voted for death, 
and Louis was condemned to the scaffold. 

L793.J The Girondists. 191 

Indignation at the king's death. The Rerolutlonary Tribunal 

This united vote upon the death of the king 
for a short time mingled together again the Gi- 
rondists and the Jacobins. But the dominant 
party, elated by the victory which they had 
gained over their adversaries, were encouraged 
to fresh extortions. Perils increased. Europe 
was rising in arms against the blood-stained 
Republic. The execution of the king aroused 
emotions of unconquerable detestation in the 
bosoms of thousands who had previously looked 
upon the Revolution with favor. Those who 
had any opulence to forfeit, or any position in 
society to maintain, were ready to welcome as 
deliverers the allied army of invasion. It was 
then, to meet this emergency, that that terrible 
Revolutionary Tribunal was organized, which 
raised the ax of the guillotine as the one all-po- 
tent instrument of government, and which shed 
such oceans of innocent blood. " Two hundred 
and sixty thousand heads," said Marat, " must 
fall before France will be safe from internal 
foes." Dan ton, Marat, and Robespierre were 
now in the ascendency, riding with resistless 
power upon the billows of mob violence. When- 
ever they wished to carry any measure, they 
sent forth their agents to the dens and lurking- 
places of degradation and crime, and surround- 

192 Madame Roland. [1793 

Unlimited power* of the Revolutionary Tribunal* Atrocious cruelties 

ed and filled the hall of the Assembly with blood, 
thirsty assassins. " Those who call themselves 
respectable" said Marat, " wish to give laws 
to those whom they call the rabble. We will 
teach them that the time is come in which the 
rabble is to reign." 

This Revolutionary Tribunal, consisting of 
five judges, a jury, and a public acouser, all ap- 
pointed by the Convention, was proposed and 
decreed on the same evening. It possessed un- 
limited powers to confiscate property and take 
life. The Girondists dared not vote against 
this tribunal. The publio voice would pro- 
nounce them the worst of traitors. France was 
now a charnel-house. Blood flowed in streams 
which were never dry. Innocence had no pro- 
tection. Virtue was suspicion, suspicion a 
crime, the guillotine the penalty, and the con- 
fiscated estate the bribe to accusation. Thus 
there was erected, in the name of liberty and 
popular rights, over the ruins of the French 
monarchy, a system of despotism the most atro- 
cious and meroiless under which humanity has 
ever groaned. 

Again and again had the Jacobins called the 
mob into the Assembly, and compelled the mem- 
bers to vote with the poniards of assassin* at 

1793.J The Girondists. 193 

Embarrassments of AL Roland. He sends in his resignation 

their breasts. Madame Roland now despaired 
of liberty. Calumny, instead of gratitude, was 
unsparingly heaped upon herself and her hus- 
band. This requital, so unexpected, was more 
dreadful to her than the scaffold. All the prom- 
ised fruits of the Revolution had disappeared, 
and desolation and crime alone were realized. 
The Girondists still met in Madame Roland's 
library to deliberate concerning measures for 
Averting the impending ruin. All was una- 

The most distressing embarrassments now 
imrrounded M. Roland. He could not abandon 
power without abandoning himself and his sup- 
porters in the Assembly to the guillotine ; and 
while continuing in power, he was compelled to 
witness deeds of atrooity from which not only 
his soul revolted, but to which it was necessary 
for him apparently to give his sanction. His 
cheek grew pale and wan with care. He could 
neither eat nor sleep. The Republic had proved 
an utter failure, and France was but a tem- 
pest-tossed ocean of anarchy. 

Thus situated, M. Roland, with the most 
melanoholy forebodings, sent in his final resig- 
nation. He retired to humble lodgings in ona 

af the obscure streets of Paris Here, anxioua- 


194 Madame Rolanu. [1793 

Attempts to assassinate the Rolands. Entreaties of friends, 

ly watching the progress of events, he began to 
make preparations to leave the mob-enthralled 
metrDpolis, and seek a retreat, in the calm se- 
clusion of La Platiere, from these storms which 
no human power could allay. Still, the influ 
ence of Roland and his wife was feared by those 
who were directing the terrible enginery of law- 
less violence. It was well known by them both 
that assassins had been employed to silence 
them with the poniard. Madame Roland seem- 
ed, however, perfectly insensible to personal 
fear. She thought only of her husband and r ^r 
child. Desperate men were seen lurking about 
the house, and their friends urged them to re- 
move as speedily as possible from the perils by 
which they were surrounded. Neither the sa- 
credness of law nor the weapons of their friends 
could longer afford them any protection. The 
danger beoame so imminent that the friends of 
Madame Roland brought her the dress of a 
peasant girl, and entreated her to put it on, as 
a disguise, and escape by night, that her hus- 
band might follow after her, unencumbered by 
ids family ; but she proudly repelled that which 
she deemed a cowardly artifice. She threw the 
dress aside, exclaiming, "I am ashamed to re- 
sort to any such expedient. I will neither dis* 

1793.] The Girondists. 195 

Plrmneu of Madame Roland. Roland's Influence In the department* 

guise myself, nor make any attempt at seoret 
escape. My enemies may find me always in 
my place. If I am assassinated, it shall be in 
my own home. I owe my country an example 
of firmness, and I will give it." 

She, however, was so fully aware of her peril, 
and each night was burdened with such atroci- 
ties, that she placed loaded pistols under hei 
pillow, to defend herself from those outrages, 
worse than death, of which the Revolution af- 
forded so many examples. While the influence 
of the Girondists was entirely overborne by the 
clamors of the mob in Paris, in the more virtu- 
ous rural districts, far removed from the corrup- 
tion of the capital, their influence was on the in- 
crease. The name of M. Roland, uttered with 
execrations in the metropolis by the vagabonds 
swarming from all parts of Europe, was spoken 
in tones of veneration in the departments, where 
husbandmen tilled the soil, and loved the reign 
of law and peace. Hence the Jacobins had se- 
rious cause to fear a reaction, and determined 
to silence their voices by the slide of the guil- 
lotine The most desperate measures were now 
adopted for the destruction of the Girondists. 
One conspiracy was formed to oollect the moo, 
ever ready to obey a signal from Marat, around 

196 Madame Roland [1793. 

Plots tftlnat the Girondists. Insurrections in favor of the monarchy 

the Assembly, to incite them to burst in at th« 
doors and the windows, and fill the hall with 
confusion, while picked men were to poniard 
the Girondists in their seats. The conspiracy 
was detected and exposed but a few hours be- 
fore its appointed execution. The Jacobin lead- 
ers, protected by their savage allies, were rais- 
ed above the power of law, and set all punish- 
ment at defiance. 

A night was again designated, in which bands 
of armed men were to surround the dwelling 
of each Girondist, and assassinate these foes of 
Jacobin domination in their beds. This plot 
also was revealed to the Girondists but a few 
hours before its destined catastrophe, and it was 
with the utmost difficulty that the doomed vic- 
tims obtained extrication from the toils which 
had been wound around them. Disastrous 
news was now daily arriving from the frontiers. 
The most alarming tidings came of insurrec- 
tions in La Vendee, and other important por- 
tions of France, in favor of the restoration of 
the monarchy. These gathering perils threw 
terror into the hearts of the Jacobins, and rous- 
ed them to deeds of desperation. Though Ma- 
dame Roland was now in comparative obsour- 
Hy, night after night the most illustrious men 

1793.] The Girondists. 197 

Meeting! at Madame Roland's. Jacobin lararrectioa. 

of France, battling for liberty and for life in 
the Convention, ascended the dark staircase to 
her seoluded room, hidden in the depth of a 
court o r the Rue de la Harpe, and there talked 
over tne scenes of the day, and deliberated re- 
specting the morrow. 

The Jacobins now planned one of those hor- 
rible insurrections whioh sent a thrill of terror 
into every bosom in Paris. Assembling the 
multitudinous throng of demoniac men and 
women which the troubled times had oolleoted 
from every portion of Christendom, they gath- 
ered them around the hall of the Assembly to 
enforce their demands. It was three o'clock in 
the morning of the 31st of May, 1793, when 
the dismal sounds of tho alarm bells, spreading 
from belfry to belfry, and the deep booming of 
the insurrection gun, reverberating through the 
streets, aroused the citizens from their slum- 
bers, producing universal excitement and con- 
sternation. A cold and freezing wind swept 
clouds of mist through the gloomy air, and tho 
moaning storm seemed the appropriate requiem 
of a sorrow-stricken world. The Hotel de Ville 
was the appointed place of rendezvous for the 
swarming multitudes. The affrighted citizens, 
knowmg but too well to what scenes of violence 

198 Madame Roland. [1793 

Portentous mntterlngs. Precautions of the Glrondlrta. 

and blood these demonstrations were the pre- 
cursors, threw up their windows, and looked out 
with fainting hearts upon the dusky forms 
crowding by like apparitions of darkness. The 
rumbling of the wheels of heavy artillery, the 
flash of powder, with the frequent report of fire- 
arms, and the uproar and the clamor of count- 
less voices, were fearful omens of a day to dawn 
in blacker darkness than the night. The Gi- 
rondists had recently been called in the journals 
and inflammatory speeches of their adversaries 
the Rolandists. The name was given them in 
recognition of the prominent position of Ma- 
dame Roland in the party, and with the en- 
deavor to cast reproach upon her and her hus- 
band. Through all the portentous mutterings 
of this rising storm could be heard deep and 
significant execrations and menaces, coupled 
with the names of leading members of the Gi- 
rondist party. " Down with the aristocrats, 
the traitors, the Rolandists !" shouted inces- 
santly hoarse voices and shrill voices, of drunk. 
en men, of reckless boys, of fiendish women 

The Girondists, apprehensive of some move- 
ment of this kind, had generally taken the pre- 
caution not to sleep that night in their own 
dwellings. The intrepid Vergniaud alone re- 

1793.] The Girondists. li*9 

Intrepidity of Vergniaud. Power of prayer 

fused to adopt any measure of safety. " What 
signifies life to me now ?" said he ; " my blood 
may be more eloquent than my words in awak- 
ening and saving my country. I am ready for 
the sacrifice." One of the Girondists, M. Ra- 
bout, a man of deep, reflective piety, hearing 
these noises, rose from his bed, listened a mo- 
ment at his window to the tumult swelling up 
from every street of the vast metropolis, and 
oalmly exclaiming, " Ilia suprema dies," it it 
our last day^ prostrated himself at the foot of 
his bed, and invoked aloud the Divine protec- 
tion upon his companions, his country, and 
himself. Many of his friends were with him, 
friends who knew not the power of prayer. But 
there are hours in which every soul instinctive- 
ly craves the mercy of its Creator. They all 
oowed reverently, and were profoundly affected 
by the supplications of their Christian friend. 
Fortified and tranquilized by the potency of 
prayer, and determining to die, if die they must, 
at the post of duty, at six o'clock they desoend* 
ed into the street, with pistols and daggers con- 
cealed beneath their clothes. They succeeded, 
unrecognized, in reaching the Convention in 

One or two of the Jacobin party were assem- 

200 Madame Roland. [1793L 

* Horrible hope." The power of the Girondiste gone 

bled there at that early hour, and Danton, pale 
with the excitement of a sleepless night, walk- 
ing to and fro in nervous agitation, greeted his 
old friends with a wan and melancholy smile. 
11 Do you see," said Louvet to Gaudet, " what 
horrible hope shines upon that hideous face?" 
The members rapidly collected. The hall was 
soon filled. The Girondists were now helpless, 
their sinews of power were cut, and the strug- 
gle was virtually over. All that remained for 
them was to meet their fate heroically and with 
an unvanquished spirit- 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 201 

Th» Convention, the mob, the Jacobins. ' Robespierre, Danton, Marat 

Chapter IX. 
Arrest of Madame Roland. 

FRANCE was now governed by the Con- 
vention. The Convention was governed by 
the mob of Paris. The Jacobins were the head 
of this mob. Thoy roused its rage, and guided 
its fury, when and where they listed. The 
friendship of the mob was secured and retained 
by ever pandering to their passions. The Jac- 
obins olaimed to be exclusively the friends of 
the people, and advooated all those measures 
which tended to crush the elevated and flatter 
the degraded. Robespierre, Danton, Marat, 
were now the idols of the populace. 

On the morning of the 30th of May, 1793, 
the streets of Paris were darkened with a dis- 
mal storm of low, scudding clouds, and chilling 
winds, and sleet and rain. Pools of water stood 
in the miry streets, and every aspect of nature 
was cheerless and desolate. But there was an- 
other storm raging in those streets, more terri- 
ble than any elemental warfare. In locust le- 
gionsj the deformed, the haggard, the brutalized 

202 Madame Roland. [179 

Aspect of the mob. The Jacobins' sword of justice 

In form, in features, in mind, in heart— -demo- 
niac men, satanie women, boys burly, sensual, 
blood-thirsty, like imps of darkness rioted along 
toward the Convention, an interminable multi- 
tude whom no one could count. Their hideous 
bowlings thrilled upon the ear, and sent panic 
to the heart. There was no power to resist 
them. There was no protection from their vio- 
lence. And thousands wished that they might 
call up even the most despotio king who ever 
sat upon the throne of France, from his grave, 
to drive back that most terrible of all earthly 
despotisms, the despotism of a mob. This was 
the power with which the Jacobins backed their 
arguments. This was the gory blade which 
they waved before their adversaries, and called 
the sword of justioe. 

The Assembly consisted of about eight hund- 
red members. There were twenty-two illus- 
trious men who were considered the leaders of 
the Girondist party. The Jacobins had resolv- 
ed that they should be accused of treason, ar- 
rested, and condemned. The Convention had 
refused to submit to the arbitrary and bloody 
demand. The mob were now assembled to oo- 
eroe submission. The melancholy tocsin, and 
the thunders of the alarm gun, resounded 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 203 

The Convection invaded. Triumph of the mob 

through the air, as the countless throng came 
pouring along like ocean billows, with a resist- 
lessness which no power could stay. They sur- 
rounded the Assembly on every side, forced 
their way into the hall, filled every vacant 
space, clambered upon the benches, crowded the 
speaker in his chair, brandished their daggers, 
and mingled their oaths and imprecations with 
the fierce debate Even the Jacobins were ter- 
rified by the frightful spirits whom they had 
evoked. " Down with the Girondists !" " Death 
to the traitors !" the assassins shouted. The 
clamor of the mob silenced the Girondists, and 
they hardly made an attempt to speak in their 
defense. They sat upon their benches, pale 
with the emotions which the fearful scenes ex- 
cited, yet firm and unwavering. As Couthon 
a Jacobin orator, was uttering deep denuncia- 
tions, he became breathless with the vehemence 
of his passionate speech. He turned to a wait- 
er for a glass of water. " Take to Couthon a 
glass of blood," said Vergniaud ; " he is thirst* 
Ing for it." 

The decree of accusation was proposed, and 
carried, without debate, beneath the poniards 
of uncounted thousands of assassins. The mob 
was triumphant. By acclamation it was then 

204 Madame Roland. [1793 

Fraternizing with the mob. Paris Illuminated 

voted that all Paris should be joyfully illuminat- 
ed, in celebration of the triumph of the people 
over those who would arrest the onward career 
cf the Revolution ; and every citizen of Paris 
well knew the doom which awaited him if brill- 
iant lights were not burning at his windows. 
It was then voted, and with enthusiasm, that 
the Convention should go out and fraternize 
with the multitude. Who would have the te- 
merity, in such an hour, to oppose the affection- 
ate demonstration? The degraded Assembly 
obeyed the mandate of the mob, and marohed 
into the streets, where they were hugged in the 
unolean arms and pressed to the foul bosoms of 
beggary, and infamy, and pollution. Louis was 
avenged. The hours of the day had now pass- 
ed ; night had come ; but it was noonday light 
in the brilliantly-illuminated streets of the me- 
tropolis. The Convention, surrounded by torch- 
bearers, and an innumerable concourse of drunk- 
en men and women, rioting in hideous orgies, 
traversed, in compulsory procession, the princi- 
pal streets of the city. The Girondists were 
led as oaptives to grace the triumph. " Whioh 
do you prefer," said a Jacobin to Vergniaud, 
" this ovation or the scaffold ?" " It is all the 
same to me," replied Vergniaud, with stoical in- 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 205 

Arrest of the Girondist*. 8*jpen*e of the Roland*. 

difference. " There is no choice between this 
walk and the guillotine. It conducts us to it." 
The twenty-two Girondists- were arrested and 
committed to prison. 

During this dreadful day, while these scene* 
were passing in the Assembly, Madame Roland 
and her husband were in their solitary room, op- 
pressed with the most painful suspense. The 
cry and the uproar of the insurgent city, the 
tolling of bells and thundering of cannon, were 
borne upon the wailings of the gloomy storm, 
and sent consternation even to the stoutest 
hearts. There was now no room for escape, for 
the barriers were closed and carefully watched. 
Madame Roland knew perfectly well that if her 
friends fell she must fall with them. She had 
shared their principles ; she had guided their 
measures, and she wished to participate in their 
doom. It was this honorable feeling whioh led 
her to refuse to provide for her own safety, and 
whioh induced her to abide, in the midst of ever 
increasing danger, with her associates. No per- 
son obnoxious to suspioion oould enter the street 
without fearful peril, though, through the lin- 
gering hours of the day, friends brought them 
tidings of the current of events. Nothing re- 
mained to be done but to await, as patiently 

XW Madame Roland. [1793 

Arrest of M. Roland. Prompt action of Madame Roland 

as possible, the blow that was inevitably to 

The twilight was darkening into night, when 
six armed men ascended the stairs and burst 
Into Roland's apartment. The philosopher look* 
ed calmly upon them as, in the name of the Con- 
vention, they informed him of his arrest. " I 
do not recognize the authority of your warrant," 
said M. Roland, " and shall not voluntarily fol- 
low you. I can only oppose the resistance of 
my gray hairs, but I will protest against it witr 
my last breath." 

The leader of the party replied, " I have no 
orders to use violence. I will go and report 
your answer to the council, leaving, in the mean 
time, a guard to secure your person." 

This was an hour to rouse all the energy and 
heroic resolution of Madame Roland. She im- 
mediately sat down, and, with that rapidity of 
action whioh her highly-disciplined mind had 
attained, wrote, in a few moments, a letter to 
the Convention. Leaving a friend who was in 
the house with her husband, she ordered a hack- 
ney coach, and drove as fast as possible to tha 
Tuileries, where the Assembly was in session. 
The garden of the Tuileries was filled with tho 
tumultuary concourse. 8he forced her way 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 207 

Madame Roland in the petitioners' haH Uproar in the Asaembly 

through the crowd till she arrived at the doort 
of the outer halls. Sentinels were stationed at 
all the passages, who would not allow her to 

"Citizens," said she, at last adroitly adopting 
the vernacular of the Jacobins, " in this day of 
salvation for our country, in the midst of those 
traitors who threaten us, you know not the im- 
portance of some notes which I have to trans- 
mit to the president." 

These words were a talisman. The doors 
were thrown open, and she entered the petition- 
ers' hall. " I wish to see one of the messengers 
of the House," she said to one of the inner senti- 

" Wait till one comes out," was the gruff 

She waited for a quarter of an hour in burn- 
ing impatience. Her ear was almost stunned 
with the deafening clamor of debate, of applause, 
of execrations, which now in dying murmurs, 
and again in thundering reverberations, awak- 
ening responsive echoes along the thronged 
streets, swelled upon the night air. Of all hu 
man sounds, the uproa* of a countless multi 
tude of maddened human voices is the most 

208 Madame Rolahd. [1783 

Madame Roland's letter. The measenget 

At last she caught a glimpse of the messen- 
ger who had summoned her to appear before 
the bar of the Assembly in reply to the accu- 
sations of Viard, informed him of their peril, 
and implored him to hand her letter to the pres- 
ident. The messenger, M. Roze, took the pa- 
per, and, elbowing his way through the throng, 
disappeared. An hour elapsed, which seemed 
an age. The tumult within continued unabated 
At length M. Roze reappeared. 

" Well !" said Madame Roland, eagerly, 
" what has been done with my letter ?" 

" I have given it to the president," was the 
reply, " but nothing has been done with it as 
yet. Indescribable confusion prevails. The 
mob demand the accusation of the Girondists. 
I have just assisted one to escape by a private 
way. Others are endeavoring, concealed by the 
tumult, to effeot their escape. There is no 
knowing what is to happen." 

" Alas !" Madame Roland replied, " my let- 
ter will not be read. Do send some deputy to 
me, with whom I can speak a few words." 

"Whom shall I send?" 

11 Indeed I have but little acquaintance with 
any, and but little esteem for any, except those 
who are proscribed. Tell Vergniaud that I ana 
Inq for h;W * 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 209 

Interview with Vergniaud. Hop© vanishes. 

Vergniaud, notwithstanding the terrific agi- 
tations of the hour, immediately attended the 
summons of Madame Roland. She implored 
him to try to get her admission to the bar, that 
she might speak in defense of her husband and 
her friends. 

"In the present state of the Assembly," said 
Vergniaud, " it would be impossible, and if pos- 
sible, of no avail. The Convention has lost all 
power. It has become but the weapon of the 
rabble. Your words can do no good." 

" They may do much good," replied Madame 
Roland. " I can venture to say that which you 
could not say without exposing yourself to ac- 
cusation. I fear nothing. If I can not save 
Roland, I will utter with energy truths which 
may be useful to the Republic. An example 
of courage may shame the nation." 

" Think how unavailing the attempt," re- 
plied Vergniaud. " Your letter can not possi- 
bly be read for two or three hours. A crowd 
of petitioners throng the bar. Noise, and con- 
fusion, and violence fill the House." 

Madame Roland paused for a moment, and 
replied, " I must then hasten home, and ascer- 
tain what has become of my husband. I will 

immediately return. Tell our friends so." 


210 Madame Roland. [1793 

£*c«p« of M Roland. Scene at the Tnilerlea 

Vergniaud sadly pressed her hand, as if for a 
last farewell, and returned, invigorated by her 
courage, to encounter the storm which was hail- 
ed upon him in the Assembly. She hastened 
to her dwelling, and found that her husband 
had succeeded in eluding the surveillance of his 
guards, and, escaping by a back passage, had 
taken refuge in the house of a friend. After a 
short searoh she found him in his asylum, and, 
too deeply moved to weep, threw herself into 
his arms, informed him of what she had done, 
rejoiced at his safety, and heroically returned 
to the Convention, resolved, if possible, to ob- 
tain admission there. It was now near mid- 
night. The streets were brilliant with illumi- 
nations ; but Madame Roland knew not of 
which party these illuminations celebrated the 

On her arrival at the court of the Tuileries, 
which had so recently been thronged by a mob 
of forty thousand men, she found it silent and 
deserted. The sitting was ended. The mem- 
bers, accompanied by the populace with whom 
they had fraternized, were traversing the stroets. 
A few sentinels stood nhivering in the cold and 
drLziling rain around the doors of the national 
o&iaoe. A group of rough- looking men *er* 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 211 

fhe deputies embraced by the mob. Anecdote 

gathered before a cannon. Madame Roland ap- 
proached them. 

11 Citizens," inquired she, " has every thing 
gone well to-night ?" 

" Oh ! wonderfully well," was the reply. 
" The deputies and the people embraced, and 
sung the Marseilles Hymn, there, under the tree 
of liberty." 

" And what has become of the twenty-two 
Girondists ?" 

" They are all to be arrested." 

Madame Roland was almost stunned by the 
blow. Hastily crossing the court, she arrived 
at her hackney-coach. A very pretty dog, which 
nad lost its master, followed her. " Is the poor 
little creature yours ?" inquired the coachman. 
The tones of kindness with which he spoke call- 
ed up the first tears which had moistened the 
eyes of Madame Roland that eventful night. 

" I should like him for my little boy," said 
the coachman. 

Madame Roland, gratified to have, at such 
an hour, for a driver, a father and a man of 
feeling, said, " Put him into the coach, and 1 
will take care of him for you. Drive immedi- 
ately to the galleries of the Louvre." Madame 
Roland caressed the affectionate animal, and, 

212 Madamb Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland return* home. A mother's tear* 

weary of the passions of man, longed for retire- 
ment from the world, and to seclude herself 
with those animals who would repay kindness 
with gratitude. She sank back in her seat, ex- 
claiming, " O that we could escape from France, 
and find a home in the law-governed republic 
of America." 

Alighting at the Louvre, she called upon a 
friend, with whom she wished to consult upon 
the means of effecting M. Roland's escape from 
the city. He had just gone to bed, but arose, 
conversed about various plans, and made an ap- 
pointment to meet her at seven o'clock the next 
morning. Entirely unmindful of herself, she 
thought only of the rescue of her friends. Ex- 
hausted with excitement and toil, she returned 
to her desolated home, bent over the sleeping 
form of her child, and gave vent to a mother's 
gushing love in a flood of tears. Recovering 
her fortitude, she sat down and wrote to M. Ro- 
land a minute account of all her proceedings. It 
would have periled his safety had she attempt- 
ed to share his asylum. The gray of a dull and 
somber morning was just beginning to appear 
as Madame Roland threw herself upon a bed 
for a few moments of repose. Overwhelmed 
Uy sorrow and fatigue, she had just fallen asleep, 

1793.] Arre8t of Madame Roland. 213 

Arrest of Madame Roland. Her composure 

when a band of armed men rudely broke into 
her house, and demanded to be conducted to 
her apartment. She knew too well the object 
of the summons. The order for her arrest was 
presented her. She calmly read it, and re- 
quested permission to write to a friend. The 
request was granted. When the note was fin- 
ished, the officer informed her that it would be 
necessary for him to be made acquainted with 
its contents. She quietly tore it into frag- 
ments, and cast it into the fire. Then, imprint- 
ing her last kiss upon the cheek of her uncon- 
scious child, with the composure which such a 
catastrophe would naturally produce in so he- 
roic a mind, she left her home for the prison. 
Blood had been flowing too freely in Paris, the 
guillotine had been too active in its operations, 
*br Madame Roland to entertain any doubts 
whither the path she now trod was tending. 

It was early in the morning of a bleak and 
dismal day as Madame Roland accompanied 
the officers through the hall of her dwelling, 
where she had been the object of such enthusi* 
astio admiration and affection. The servants 
gathered around her, and filled the house with 
their lamentations. Even the hardened so) 
diers were moved bv the scone, and one of them 

214 Madame Roland. 1179a 

ImjbvlIU of the mob. Conversation with officers. 

exclaimed, " How much you are beloved! 11 
Madame Roland, who alone was tranquil in this 
hour of trial, calmly replied, " Because 1 love." 
As she was led from the house by the gens 
d'armes, a vast crowd collected around the door, 
who, believing her to be a traitor to her coun- 
try, and in league with their enemies, shouted, 
"A la guillotine! 11 Unmoved by their cries, 
she looked calmly and compassionately upon the 
populace, without gesture or reply. One of the 
officers, to relieve her from the insults to which 
she was exposed, asked her if she wished to have 
the windows of the carriage closed. 

" No !" she replied ; " oppressed innocence 
should not assume the attitude of crime and 
shame. I do not fear the looks of honest men, 
and I brave those of my enemies." 

" You have very great resolution," was the 
reply, " thus calmly to await justice." 

" Justice!" she exolaimed ; "were justice 
done I should not be here. But I shall go to 
the scaffold as fearlessly as I now proceed to 
the prison." 

" Roland's flight," said one of the ofnoers, 
brutally, " is a proof of his guilt." 

She indignantly replied, "It is so atrooiouj 
to persecute a man who has rendered suoh serv 

1793.] Arrest of Madame Roland. 213 

The Abbey*. Kindneef of the jailer's wife 

ices to the cause of liberty. His conduct has 
been so open and his accounts so clear, that he 
is perfectly justifiable in avoiding the last out* 
rages of envy and malice. Just as Aristides 
%nd inflexible as Cato, he is indebted to his vir- 
tues for his enemies. Let them satiate their 
fury upon me. I defy their power, and devote 
myself to death. He ought to save himself for 
the sake of his country, to which he may yet 
io good." 

When they arrived at the prison of the Ab- 
baye, Madame Roland was first conducted into 
a large, dark, gloomy room, which was occu- 
pied by a number of men, who, in attitudes of 
the deepest melancholy, were either pacing the 
floor or reclining upon some miserable pallets 
From this room she ascended a narrow and 
dirty staircase to the jailer's apartment. The 
jailer's wife was a kind woman, and imme- 
diately felt the power of the attractions of her 
fascinating prisoner. As no cell was yet pro- 
dded for her, she permitted her to remain in her 
'•com for the rest of the day. The commission- 
ers who had brought her to the prison gave or- 
ders that she should receive no indulgence, but 
be treated with the utmost rigor. The instruc- 
tions, however, being merely verbal, were but 

216 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland enters ber cell. Her first night there. 

little regarded. She was furnished with com- 
fortable refreshment instead of the repulsive 
prison fare, and, after breakfast, was permitted 
to write a letter to the National Assembly upon 
her illegal arrest. Thus passed the day. 

At ten o'clock in the evening, her cell being 
prepared, she entered it for the first time. It 
was a cold, bare room, with walls blackened by 
the dust and damp of ages. There was a small 
fire-place in the room, and a narrow window, 
with a double iron grating, which admitted but 
a dim twilight even at noon day. In one cor- 
ner there was a pallet of straw. The chill night 
air crept in at the unglazed window, and the 
dismal tolling of the tocsin proclaimed that the 
metropolis was still the scene of tumult and of 
violence. Madame Roland threw herself upon 
her humble bed, and was so overpowered by fa- 
tigue and exhaustion that she woke not from 
her dreamless slumber until twelve o'clock of 
the next day. 

Eudora, who had been left by her mother in 
tfce care of weeping domestics, was taken by a 
friend, and watched over and protected with ma- 
ternal care. Though Madame Roland never 
saw her idolized child again, her heart was com- 
forted in the prison by the assuranoe that she 

1793.) Arrest of Madame Roland. 217 

Embarrassment of M. Roland. HI* eecap-e from Pari* 

had found a home with those whc, for her moth- 
er's sake, would love and cherish her. 

The tidings of the arrest and imprisonment 
of Madame Roland soon reached the ears of her 
unfortunate husband in his retreat. His em- 
barrassment was most agonizing. To remain 
and participate in her doom, whatever that doom 
might be, would only diminish her chances of 
escape and magnify her peril ; and yet it seemed 
not magnanimous to abandon his noble wife to 
encounter her merciless foes alone. The tri- 
umphant Jacobins were now, with the eager- 
ness of blood-hounds, searching every nook and 
corner in Paris, to drag the fallen minister from 
his concealment. It soon became evident that 
no dark hiding-place in the metropolis could long 
conceal him from the vigilant search which was 
commenced, and that he must seek safety in pre- 
cipitate ilight. His friends obtained for him the 
tattered garb of a peasant. In a dark night, 
alone and trembling, he stole from his retreat, 
and commenced a journey on foot, by a circuit- 
ous and unfrequented route, to gain the front- 
iers of Switzerland. He hoped to find a tern- 
porary refuge by burying himself among the 
lonely passes of the Alps. A man can face his 
foes with a spirit undaunted and unyielding, 

218 Madame Roland 1793 

The re-arreat and escape. Cheerful philosophy of Madame Roland 

but he can not fly from them without trembling 
as he looks behind. For two or three days, 
with blistered feet, and a heart agitated even 
beyond ail his powers of stoical enduranoe, he 
toiled painfully along his dreary journey. As 
he was entering Moulines, his marked features 
were recognized. He was arrested, taken back 
to Paris, and cast into prison, where he lan- 
guished for some time. He subsequently again 
made his escape, and was concealed by some 
friends in the vicinity of Rouen, where he re- 
mained in a state of indescribable suspense and 
anguish until the death of his wife. 

When Madame Roland awoke from her long 
sleep, instead of yielding to despair and sur- 
rendering herself to useless repinings, she im- 
mediately began to arrange her cell as comfort- 
ably as possible, and to look around for such 
sources of comfort and enjoyment as might yet 
be obtained. The course she pursued most 
beautifully illustrates the power of a contented 
and cheerful spirit not only to alleviate the 
pangs of severest affliction, but to gild with 
comfort even the darkest of earthly sorrows. 
With those smiles of unaffected affability which 
won to her all hearts, she obtained the favor of 
& small table, and then of a neat white spread 

l7y;i| Arrest of Madame Roland. 219 

The cell made a study. Delight of the jailer and his wife 

to cover it. This she placed near the window 
to serve for her writing-desk. To keep this ta- 
bic, which she prized so highly, unsoiled, she 
smilingly told her keeper that she should make 
a dining-table of her stove. A rusty dining-ta- 
ble indeed it was. Two hair-pins, which she 
drew from her own clustering ringlets, she drove 
into a shelf for pegs to hang her clothes upon 
These arrangements she made as cheerfully as 
when superintending the disposition of the gor- 
geous furniture in the palace over which she 
had presided with so much elegance and grace 
Having thus provided her study, her next cars 
was to obtain a few books. She happened to 
have Thomson's Seasons, a favorite volume of 
hers, in her pocket. Through the jailer's wife 
she succeeded in obtaining Plutarch's Lives and 
Sheridan's Dictionary. 

The jailer and his wife were both charmed 
with their prisoner, and invited her to dine with 
them that day. In the solitude of her cell she 
oould distinctly hear the rolling of drums, the 
tolling of bells, and all those sounds of tumult 
which announced that the storm of popular in- 
surrection was still.sweeping through the streets 
One of her faithful servants called to see her, 
*nd, on beholding her mistress in such a situa* 

220 Madame Roland. [1793 

Prison regulations. Ooatm fare 

tion, the poor girl burst into tears. Madame 
Roland was, for a moment, overcome by this 
sensibility ; she, however, soon again regained 
her self-command. She endeavored to banish 
from her mind all painful thoughts of her hus- 
band and her child, and to accommodate her- 
self as heroically as possible to her situation 
The prison regulations were very severe. The 
government allowed twenty pence per day for 
the support of each prisoner. Ten pence was 
to be paid to the jailer for the furniture he put 
into the cell ; ten pence only remained for food. 
The prisoners were, however, allowed to pur- 
chase such food as they pleased from their own 
purse. Madame Roland, with that stoicism 
which enabled her to triumph over all ordinary 
ills, resolved to conform to the prison allowance. 
She took bread and water alone for breakfast. 
The dinner was coarse meat and vegetables. 
The money she saved by this great frugality 
she distributed among the poorer prisoners. The 
only indulgence she allowed herself was in the 
purchase of books and flowers. In reading and 
with her pen she beguiled the weary days of 
her imprisonment. And though at times her 
spirit was overwhelmed with anguish in view of 
her desolate home and blighted hopes, she stiU 

1793.] Arrkst of Madame Roland. 221 

Prison employment Madame Roland's serenity of spirit 

found great solace in the warm affections wiiich 
sprang up around her, even in the uncongenial 
atmosphere of a prison. 

Though she had been compelled to abandon 
ill the enthusiastic dreams of her youth, she 
atill retained confidence in her faith that these 
dark storms would ere long disappear from the 
political horizon, and that a brighter day would 
soon dawn upon the nations. No misfortunes 
could disturb the serenity of her soul, and no 
accumulating perils could daunt her courage. 
She immediately made a methodical arrange- 
ment of her time, so as to appropriate stated 
employment to every hour. She cheered her- 
self with the reflection that her husband was 
safe in his retreat, with kind friends ready to 
minister to all his wants. She felt assured that 
her daughter was received with maternal love 
by one who would ever watch over her with the 
tenderest care. The agitation of the terrible 
conflict was over. She submitted with calm- 
ness and quietude to her lot. After having 
been so long tossed by storms, she seemed to find 
a peaceful harbor in her prison cell, and her spir- 
it wandered back to those days, so serene and 
happy, which she spent with her books In the 
Mttle chamber beneath her father's roof She 

222 Madame Roland. [1793 

intellectual pastime. Visit from commissioners 

however, made every effort in her power to re- 
gain her freedom. She wrote to the Assembly, 
protesting against her illegal, arrest. She found 
all these efforts unavailing. Still, she gave way 
to no despondency, and uttered no murmurs. 
Most of her time she employed in writing his- 
toric notices of the scenes through which she 
had passed. These papers she intrusted, for 
preservation, to a friend, who occasionally gained 
access to her. These articles, written with great 
eloquence and feeling, were subsequently pub- 
lished with her memoirs. Having such resour- 
ces in her own highly-cultivated mind, even the 
hours of imprisonment glided rapidly and hap- 
pily along. Time had no tardy flight, and there 
probably might have been found many a lady 
in Europe lolling in a sumptuous carriage, or 
reclining upon a silken couch, who had far fewer 
hours of enjoyment. 

One day some commissioners called at her 
cell, hoping to extort from her the secret of her 
husband's retreat. She looked them calmly in 
the face, and sail, " Gentlemen, I know per- 
fectly well where my husband is. I scorn to 
tell you a lie. I know also my own strength. 
And I assure you that there is no earthly pow- 
er which can induce me to betray him." The 

1793.J Arrest of Madame Roland. 223 

Madame Roland's heroism aooounted a crime 

commissioners withdrew, admiring her heroism, 
and convinced that she was still able to wield 
an influence which might yet bring the guillo- 
tine upon their own necks. Her doom was 
sealed. Her heroism was her crime. She was 
too illustrious to live. 

224 Madame Roland. [1793 

Fate of the Girondists. Their heroic courage 

Chapter X. 
Fate of the Girondists. 

A S the fate of the Girondist party, of which 
*-*- Madame Roland was the soul, is so inti- 
mately connected with her history, we must 
leave her in the prison, while we turn aside to 
contemplate the doom of her companions. The 
portentous thunders of the approaching storm 
had given such warning to the Girondists, that 
many had effected their escape from Paris, and 
in various disguises, in friendlessness and pov- 
erty, were wandering over Europe. Others, 
however, were too proud to fly. Conscious of 
the most elevated patriotic sentiments, and 
with no criminations of conscience, except for 
sacrificing too much in love for their country, 
they resolved to remain firm at their post, and 
to face their foes. Calmly and sternly they 
awaited the onset. This heroic courage did 
but arouse and invigorate their foes. Mercy 
had long since died in France. 

Immediately after the tumult of that dread- 
ful night in which the Convention was inunda> 

1793.] Fate of the Girondists. 225 

fhe Girondist* In the Conciergeria. Their miserable ooodltion 

ted with assassins clamoring for blood, twenty- 
one of the Girondists were arrested and thrown 
into the dungeons of the Conciergerie. Impris- 
oned together, and fully conscious that their 
trial would be but a mockery, and that their 
doom was already sealed, they fortified one an- 
other with all the consolations which philosophy 
and the pride of magnanimity could administer 
In those gloomy cells, beneath the level of the 
street, into whose deep and grated windows the 
rays of the noonday sun could but feebly pene- 
trate, their faces soon grew wan, and wasted, 
and haggard, from confinement, the foul prison 
air, and woe. 

There is no sight more deplorable than that 
of an accomplished man of intellectual tastes, 
accustomed to all the refinements of polished 
life, plunged into those depths of misery from 
which the decencies even of our social being are 
exoluded. These illustrious statesmen and elo- 
quent orators, whose words had vibrated upon 
the ear of Europe, were transformed into the 
most revolting aspect of beggared and haggard 
misery. Their clothes, ruined by the humid 
filth of their dungeons, moldered to decay 
Unwashed, unshorn, in the loss almost of the 

aspect of humanity, they became repulsive to 

226 Madame Roland. [1793 

Youthful hope* eat short State of Farls 

each other. Unsupported by any of those con- 
solations which religion affords, many hours of 
the blackest gloom must have enveloped them. 
Not a few of the deputies were young men, 
in the morning of their energetio being, their 
bosoms glowing with all the passions of this tu- 
multuous world, buoyant with hope, stimulated 
by love, invigorated by perfect health. And 
they found themselves thus suddenly plunged 
from the heights of honor and power to the dis- 
mal darkness of the dungeon, from whence thev 
could emerge only to be led to the soaffold. All 
the bright hopes of life had gone down amid the 
gloom of midnight darkness. Several months 
lingered slowly away while these men were 
awaiting their trial. Day after day they heard 
the tolling of the tocsin, the reverberations of 
the alarm gun, and the beating of the insurrec- 
tion drum, as the demon of lawless violence ri- 
oted through the streets of the blood-stained me- 
tropolis. The execrations of the mob, ioud and 
fiend-like, accompanied the cart of the con- 
demned, as it rumbled upon the pavements 
above their heads, bearing the victims of popu- 
.ar fury to the guillotine ; and still, moat stoic- 
ally, they struggled to nerve their souls witb 
(attitude to meet their fate. 

1793.] Fate of the Girondists. 227 

Books and friends. Anecdote of Vergniaud 

From these massive stone walls, guarded by 
triple doors of iron and watched by numerous 
sentinels, answerable for the safe custody of 
their prisoners with their lives, there was no 
possibility of escape. The rigor of their impris- 
onment was, consequently, somewhat softened 
as weeks passed on, and they were occasionally 
permitted to see their friends through the iron 
wicket. Books, also, aided to relieve the tedium 
of confinement. The brother-in-law of Vergn- 
iaud came to visit him, and brought with him 
his son, a child ten years of age. The features 
of the fair boy reminded Vergniaud of his be- 
"oved sister, and awoke mournfully in his heart 
f .he remembrance of departed joys. When the 
child saw his uncle imprisoned like a malefac- 
tor, his cheeks haggard and sunken, his matted 
hair straggling over his forehead, his long beard 
disfiguring his face, and his clothes hanging in 
tatters, he clung to his father, affrighted by the 
sad sight, and burst into tears. 

" My child," said Vergniaud, kindly, taking 
him in his arms, " look well at me. When yon 
are a man, you can say that you saw Vergn- 
iaud, the founder of the Republic, at the most 
glorious period, and in the most splendid cos- 
tume he ever wore — that in which he suffered 

228 Madame Roland. (1793 

Sentiment* of the Girondists inscribed on the prison walls. 

unmerited persecution, and in which he prepar- 
ed to die for liberty." These words produced 
a deep impression upon the mind of the child. 
He remembered them to repeat them after the 
lapse of half a century. 

The cells in which they were imprisoned stiV 
remain as they were left on the morning u> 
which these illustrious men were led to theii 
exeoution. On the dingy walls of stone are still 
recorded those sentiments which they had in 
scribed there, and which indicate the nature of 
those emotions which animated and sustained 
them. These proverbial maxims and heroic ex 
pressions, gleaned from French tragedies or the 
classic page, were written with the blood which 
they had drawn from their own veins. In one 
place is carefully written, 

* Quand il n'a pu sauver la liberty de Rome, 
Caton est libre encore et suit mourir en homme." 

4 When he no longer had power to preserve the liberty of Rovit 
Cato still viae free, and knew how to die f&r man." 


M Oui virtus non deest 
Die nunquam oranino miser." 

** He who retains his integrity 
Can never be wholly mi$erabl*. m 

la another place, 

17 ( J3.] Fate of the Girondists. 229 

Sentiments of the Girondists Inscribed on the pri»on walk. 

" La vraie liberty est celle de Fame." 
"True liberty is that of the soul." 

On a beam was written, 

11 Dignum certe Deo speotaculum fortem vi- 
mm cum calamitate colluctantem." 

" Even God may look with pleasure upon a 
t/rave man struggling against adversity." 


'Quels solides appui dans le malheur supreme! 
J'ai pour moi ma vertu, l'6quit6, Dieu meme." 

'How substantial the. consolation in the greatest calamity 
I have for mine, my virtue, justice, God himself." 

Beneath this was written, 

u Le jour n'est pas plus pur que le fond de mon ccBur." 
" The day is not more pure than the depths of my heart." 

In large letters of blood there was inscribed, 
In the hand- writing of Vergniaud, 

" Potius mori quam fledari." 

" Death is preferable to dishonor. " 

But one sentence is recorded there which 
could be considered strictly of a religious char 
aoter. It was taken from the " Imitation of 

11 Remember that you are not called to a life 
of indulgence and pleasure, but to toil and to 

230 Madame Roland. [1793 

La Source and Biliary. Their evening dir g*. 

La Source and Sillory, two very devoted 
friends, occupied a cell together. La Source 
was a devotod Christian, and found, in the con- 
eolations of piety, an unfailing support. Sil- 
lery possessed a feeling heart, and was soothed 
and comforted by the devotion of his friend. 
La Source composed a beautiful hymn, adapted 
to a sweet and solemn air, which they called 
their evening service. Night after night this 
mournful dirge was heard gently issuing from 
the darkness of their cell, in tones so melodious 
and plaintive that they never died away from 
the memory of those who heard them. It is 
difficult to conceive of any thing more affecting 
than this knell, so softly uttered at midnight in 
those dark and dismal dungeons. 

" Calm all the tumults that invade 
Our souls, and lend thy powerful aid. 
Oh ! source of mercy ! soothe our pains, 
And break, break our cruel chains ! 
To Thee the captive pours his cry, 
To Thee the mourner loves to fly. 
The incense of our tears receive— 
'Tis all the incense we can give. 

4< Eternal Power! our cause defend, 
O God ! of innocence the friend. 
Near Thee forever she resides, 
In Thee forever she confides. 
Thou know'st the secrets of the breast : 
Thou knowV the oppressor and the oppreM'd 

1793.] Fate of the Girondists. 231 

TIm dsy of trial. The misnamed Halls of Jostle* 

Do thoa our wrongs with pity see, 
Avert a doom offending thoe. 

'' Bat should the murderer's arm prevail j 
Should tyranny our lives assail; 
Unmoved, triumphant, sconcing death, 
We'll bless Thee with our latest breath. 
The hour, the glorious hour will come, 
That consecrates the patriots' tomb ; 
A.nd with the pang our memory claims, 
Our country will avenge our names." 

Summer had come and gone while these dis« 
tinguished prisoners were awaiting their doom. 
World-weary and sick at heart, they still strug- 
gled to sustain each other, and to meet their 
dreadful fate with heroic constancy. The day 
for their trial at length arrived. It was the 
20th of October, 1793. They had long been 
held up before the mob, by placards and impas- 
sioned harangues, as traitors to their country, 
and the populace of Paris were clamorous for 
their consignment to the guillotine. They were 
led from the dungeons of the Conoiergerie tc 
the misnamed Halls of Justice. A vast con 
course of angry men surrounded the tribunal, 
and filled the air with execrations. Paris that 
day presented the aspect of a camp. The Jao- 
tbins, conscious that there were still thousands 
of the most influential of the oitizens who re- 
garded tha Girondists with veneration as inoor- 

232 Madame Roland. [1793, 

Preeasdoaa of the Jacobin*. Demeanor of tke prUooer* 

ruptible patriots, determined to prevent the pos- 
sibility of a rescue. They had some cause tc 
apprehend a counter revolution. They there- 
fore gathered around the scene of trial all that 
imposing military array which they had at then 
disposal. Cavalry, with plumes, and helmets, 
and naked sabers, were sweeping the streets, 
that no accumulations of the multitude might 
gather force. The pavements trembled beneath 
the rumbling wheels of heavy artillery, ready 
to belch forth their storm of grape-shot upon 
any opposing foe. Long lines of infantry, with 
loaded muskets and glittering bayonets, guard- 
ed all the avenues to the tribunal, where ran- 
corous passion sat enthroned in mockery upon 
the seat of justice. 

The prisoners had nerved themselves sternly 
to meet this crisis of their doom. Two by two, 
in solemn procession, they marched to the bar 
of judgment, and took their seat upon benches 
surrounded by gens d'armes and a frowning pop 
alace, and arraigned before judges already de- 
termined upon their doom. The eyes of the 
world were, however, upon them. The accus- 
ed were illustrious in integrity, in rank, in tal- 
ent. In the distant provinces there were thou- 
sands who were their friends. It was necessary 

L793.| Fate of the Girondists. 233 

The trial and condemnation. Death of ValaxA 

to go through the formality of a trial. A few 
of the accused still clung to the hope of life. 
They vainly dreamed it possible that, by si- 
lence, and the abandonment of themselves to 
the resistless power by whioh they were crush- 
ed, some mercy might be elicited. It was a 
weakness unworthy of these great men. But 
there are few minds which can remain firm 
while immured for months in the wasting mis- 
ery of a dungeon. In those glooms the sinews 
of mental energy wither with dying hope. The 
trial continued for a week. On the 30th of Oc- 
tober, at eleven o'clock at night, the verdict was 
Drought in. They were all declared guilty of 
naving conspired against the Republic, and 
were condemned to death. With the light of 
the next morning's sun they were to be led to 
the guillotine. 

As the sentence was pronounced, one of the 
accused, M. Valaze, made a motion with his 
hand, as if to tear his garment, and fell fiom 
his seat upon the floor. "What, Valaze," said 
Brissot, striving to support him, "are you los- 
ing your courage ?" " No," replied Valaze, 
faintly, " I am dying ;" and he expired, with 
his hand still grasping the hilt of the dagger 
with which he had pierced his heart. For a 

234 Madame Roland. [1793 

Virions emotion*. Return to the Conctergerte. 

moment it was a scene of unutterable horror 
The condemned gathered sadly around the re- 
mains of their lifeless companion. Some, who 
had confidently expected acquittal, overcome 
by the near approach of death, yielded to mo- 
mentary weakness, and gave utterance to rr 
proaches and lamentations. Others, pale and 
stupefied, gazed around in moody silence. One, 
in the delirium of enthusiasm, throwing his 
arms above his head, shouted, " This is the 
most glorious day of my life !" Vergniaud, 
seated upon the highest bench, with the com- 
posure of philosophy and piety combined, look- 
ed upon the scene, exulting in the victory his 
own spirit had achieved over peril and death. 

The weakness which a few displayed was 
but momentary. They rallied their energies 
boldly to meet their inevitable doom. They 
gathered for a moment around the corpse of 
their lifeless companion, and were then formed 
in procession, to march back to their cells. It 
was midnight as the condemned Girondists 
were led from the bar of the Palace of Justice 
back to the dungeons of the Conciergerie, there 
to wait till the swift-winged hours should brmg 
the dawn which was to guide their steps to the 
guillotine. Their presence of mind had noT* 

1793.] Fate op the Girondists. 235 

The Girondist!* exulttngly sing the Marseillaise Hymn. 

returned, and their bosoms glowed with the 
loftiest enthusiasm. In fulfillment of a prom- 
ise they had made their fellow-prisoners, to in- 
form them of their fate by the echoes of their 
voices, they burst into the Marseillaise Hymn. 
The vaults of the Conciergerie rang with the 
song as they shouted, in tones of exultant en- 

er gy> 

" Allons, enfans de la patrie, 
Le jour de glorie est arrivfe, 
Contro nous de la tyrannie 
L'etendard sanglant est lev6. 

" Come ! children of your country, come ! 
The day of glory dawns on high, 
And tyranny has wide unfurl'd 

Her blood-stain'd banner in the sky." 

It was their death- knell. As they were slowly 
led along through the gloomy corridors of their 
prison to the cells, these dirge-like wailings of 
a triumphant song penetrated the remotest dun- 
geons of that dismal abode, and roused every 
wretched head from its pallet. The arms of 
the guard clattered along the stone floor of the 
subterranean caverns, and the unhappy victims 
of the Revolution, roused from the temporary 
oblivion of sleep, or from dreams of the homes 
of refinement and luxury from which they had 
been torn, glared through the iron gratingt 

236 Madame Roland. [1793 

The Girondists prepare for the l&tt scene. BrutaJ decree. 

apon the melancholy procession, and uttered last 
words of adieu to those whose fate they almost 
envied. The acquittal of the Girondists would 
have given them some little hope that they also 
might find mercy. Now they sunk back upon 
their pillows in despair, and lamentations and 
wailings filled the prison. 

The condemned, now that their fate was seal- 
ed, had laid aside all weakness, and, mutually 
encouraging one another, prepared as martyrs 
to encounter the last stern trial. They were 
all placed in one large room opening into sev- 
eral cells, and the lifeless body of their compan- 
ion was deposited in one of the corners. By a 
decree of the tribunal, the still warm and bleed- 
ing remains of Valaze were to be carried back 
to the oell, and to be conveyed the next morn- 
ing, in the same cart with the prisoners, to the 
guillotine. The ax was to sever the head from 
the lifeless body, and all the headless trunks 
were to be interred together. 

A wealthy friend, who had escaped proscrip. 
tion, and was concealed in Paris, had agreed tc 
send them a sumptuous banquet the night aftei 
their trial, which banquet was to prove to them 
• funeral repast or a triumphant feast, accord- 
ing w the verdict of acquittal or condemnation 

1793.) Kate of the Girondists. 237 

Last foaat of the Girondist*. Strange scene 

Their friend kept his word. Soon after the pris- 
oners were remanded to their cell, a table was 
spread, and preparations wero made for their 
last supper. There was a large oaken table in 
the prison, where those awaiting their trial, and 
those awaiting their execution, met for their 
coarse prison fare. A rich cloth was spread upon 
tiiat table. Servants entered, bearing brilliant 
lamps, which illuminated the dismal vault with 
an unnatural luster, and spread the glare of 
noon-day light upon the miserable pallets of 
straw, the rusty iron gratings and chains, and 
the stone walls weeping with moisture, which 
no ray of the sun or warmth of fire ever dried 
away. It was a strange scene, that brilliant 
festival, in the midst of the glooms of the most 
dismal dungeon, with one dead body lying upon 
the floor, and those for whom the feast was pre- 
pared waiting only for the early dawn to light 
them to their death and burial. The richest 
viands of meats and wines were brought in and 
placed before the oondemned. Vases of flowers 
li Tusod their fragrance and expanded their beau- 
ty where flowers were never seen to blocm be- 
fore. Wan and haggard faces, unwashed and 
unshorn, gazed upon the unwonted spectacle, 
as dazzling flambeaux, and rioh table furniture. 

238 Madame Roland. [1793. 

rhe AbbA Lambert. HIj m«mnrandi 

and bouquets, and costly dishes appeared, one 
after another, until the board was covered with 
luxury and splendor. 

In silence the condemned took their places at 
the table. They were men of brilliant intellects, 
of enthusiastic eloquence, thrown suddenly from 
the heights of power to the foot of the scaffold. 
A priest, the Abbe Lambert, the intimate per- 
sonal friend of several of the most eminent of 
the Girondists, had obtained admittance into 
the prison to accompany his friends to the guil- 
lotine, and to administer to them the last con- 
solations of religion. He stood in the corridor, 
looking through the open door upon those as- 
sembled around the table, and, with his pencil 
in his hand, noted down their words, their ges- 
tures, their sighs — their weakness and theii 
strength. It is to him that we are indebted for 
all knowledge of the sublime scenes enacted at 
the last supper of the Girondists. The repast 
was prolonged until the dawn of morning began 
to steal faintly in at the grated windows of the 
prison and the gathering tumult without m« 
nounced the preparations to conduct them to 
their execution. 

Vergniaud, the most prominent and the most 
eloquent of their number, presided at the feast 

1793.) Fate of the Girondists. 239 

Vsrgniaud preside* at the feast Unnatural garety 

He had little, save the love of glory, to bind him 
to life, for he had neither father nor mother, 
wife nor child ; and he doubted not that pos- 
terity would do him justice, and that his death 
would be the most glorious act of his life. No 
one could imagine, from the calm and subdued 
conversation, and the quiet appetite with which 
these distinguished men partook of the enter- 
tainment, that this was their last repast, and 
but the prelude to a violent death. But when 
the cloth was removed, and the fruits, the wines. 
and the flowers alone remained, the conversa- 
tion became animated, gay, and at times rose 
to hilarity. Several of the youngest men of the 
party, in sallies of wit and outbursts of laugh- 
ter, endeavored to repel the gloom which dark- 
ened their spirits in view of death on the mor- 
row. It was unnatural gayety, unreal, un- 
worthy of the men. Death is not a jest, and no 
one can honor himself by trying to make it so. 
A spirit truly noble can encounter this king of 
terrors with lortitude, but never with levity. 
Still, now and then, shouts of laughter and songs 
of merriment burst from the lips of these young 
men, as they endeavored, with a kind of hys- 
terical energy, to nerve themselves tc show to 
their enemies their contempt of life and of death. 

240 Madame Roland. |17&J 

LMt thotffate. Religion, philosophy, tad Ufidaltty 

Others were more thoughtful, serene, and truly 

" What shall we be doing to-morrow at this 
tin™ ?" said Ducos. 

All paused. Religion had its hopes, philos- 
ophy its dreams, infidelity its dreary blank. 
Each answered according to his faith. "We 
shall sleep after the fatigues of the day," said 
some, " to wake no more." Atheism had dark- 
ened their minds. " Death is an eternal sleep, r 
had become their gloomy creed. They looked 
forward to the slide of the guillotine as ending 
all thought, and consigning them back to that 
non-existence from which they had emerged at 
their oreation. " No !" replied Fauohet, Carru 
and others, " annihilation is not our destiny 
We are immortal. These bodies may perish 
These living thoughts, these boundless aspira- 
tions, can never die. To-morrow, far away in 
other worlds, we shall think, and feel, and act 
and solve the problems of the immaterial des- 
tiny of the human mind." Immortality wa? 
the theme. The song was hushed upon thegfi 
dying lips. The forced laughter fainted awaj . 
Standing upon the brink of that dread abyss 
from whence no one has returned with tidings, 
every soul felt a longing for immortality. They 

1793.] Fate op the Giro* dist*. 241 

Eloquence of Ver gnivio . Argnmeat fbr Immortality 

turned to Vergniaud, whose brilliant intellect, 
whose soul-moving eloquence, whose spotless 
life commanded their reverence, and appealed 
to him for light, and truth, and consolation. 
His words are lost. The effect of his discourse 
alone is described. " Never,'' caid the abbe 
11 had his look, his gesture, his language, and 
his voice more profoundly affected his hearers." 
[n the conclusion of a discourse which is de- 
scribed as one of almost superhuman eloquence, 
during which some were aroused to the most 
exalted enthusiasm, all were deeply moved, and 
many wept, Vergniaud exclaimed, 

" Death is but the greatest act of life, since 
it gives birth to a higher state of existenca 
Were it not thus there would be something 
greater than God. It would be the just man 
immolating himself uselessly and hopelessly for 
his country. This supposition is a folly of blas- 
phemy, and I repel it with contempt and hor- 
ror No! Vergniaud is not greate* than God, 
but God is more just than Vergniaud ; and fie 
will not to-morrow suffer him to ascend a scaf- 
fold but to justify and avenge him in future 

And now the light of day began to stream Lb 

at the windows. " Let us go to bed," said one, 


24* Madame Roland. [179a 

La*t preparation*. Arrival of the executioner*. 

" and sleep until we are called to go forth to oui 
last sleep. Life is a thing so trifling that it is 
not worth the hour of sleep we lose in regret* 
ting it." 

u Let us rather watch," said another, "dur« 
ing the few moments which remain to us. Eter- 
nity is so certain and so terrible that a thou 
sand lives would not suffice to prepare for it." 

They rose from the table, and most of them 
retired to their cells and threw themselves upon 
their beds for a few moments of bodily repose 
and meditation. Thirteen, however, remained 
in the larger apartment, finding a certain kind 
of support in society. In a low tone of voice 
they conversed with each other. They were 
worn out with excitement, fatigue, and want 
of sleep. Some wept. Sleep kindly came to 
some, and lulled their spirits into momentary 

At ten o'clock the iron doors grated on their 
hinges, and the tramp of the gens d'armes, with 
the clattering of their sabers, was heard rever 
berating through the gloomy corridors and vaults 
of their dungeon, as they came, with the exe 
cutioners. to lead the condemned to the scaffold. 
Their long hair was cut from their necks, that 
the ax, with unobstructed edge, might do it* 

1793.) Fate op the Girondists. 243 

SouTenirs to friends. The carta of the condemned. 

work. Each one left some simple and affecting 
souvonir to friends. Gensonne picked up a lock 
of hLs black hair, and gave it to the Abbe Lam- 
bert ;c give to his wife "Tell her," said he, 
"that it is the only memorial of my love which I 
can transmit to her, and that my last thoughts 
in death were hers." Vergniaud drew from his 
pocket his watch, and, with his knife, scratched 
upon the case a few lir°s of tender remembrance, 
and sent the token to a young lady to whom he 
was devotedly attached, and to whom he was ere 
long to have been married. Each gave to the 
abbe some legacy of affection to be conveyed to 
loved ones who were to be left behind. Few 
emotions are stronger in the hour of death thar 
the desire to be embalmed in the affections of 
those who are dear to us. 

All being ready, the gens d'armes marchea 
the condemned, in a column, into the prison 
yard, where five rude carts were awaiting them, 
to convey them to the scaffold. The countless 
thousands of Paris were swarming around the 
prison, filling the court, and rolling, like ocean 
tides, into every adjacent avenue. Each cart 
contained five persons, with the exception of the 
last, into whioh the dead body of Valaze had 
been cast with four of his living companions. 

244 Madame Roland. [1793. 

Kuthaalaam of the Girondist*. The last embrto& 

And now came to the Girondists their hour 
of triumph. Heroism rose exultant over all ills. 
The brilliant sun and the elastic air of an Octo- 
ber morning invigorated their bodies, and the 
scene of sublimity through which they were 
passing stimulated their spirits to the highest 
pitoh of enthusiasm. As the carts moved from 
the court-yard, with one simultaneous voice, 
clear and sonorous, the Girondists burst into 
the Marseillaise Hymn. The crowd gazed in 
silence as this funereal chant, not like the wail- 
ings of a dirge, but like the strains of an exult- 
ant song, swelled and died away upon the air. 
Here and there some friendly voice among the 
jopulace ventured to swell the volume of sound 
as the significant words were uttered, 

" Contre nous de la tyrannic 

L'6tendard sanglant est levfc." 

" And tyranny has wide unfurl'd 

Her blood-stain'd banner in the iky." 

At the end of each verse their voices sank foi 
a moment into silence. The strain was then 
again renewed, loud and sonorous. On arriv* 
ing at the scaffold, they all embraced in one 
long, last adieu. It was a token of their com- 
munion in death as in life. They then, in con- 
cert, loudly and firmly resumed their funereal 

1793.] Fate of the (jtibondists. 245 

The execution. Fortitude of Vergnlaod. 

chant. One ascended the scaffold, continuing 
the song with his companions. He was bound 
to the plank. Still his voice was heard full and 
strong. The plank slowly fell. Still his voice, 
'without a tremor, joined in the triumphant cho- 
rus. The glittering ax glided like lightning 
down the groove. His head fell into the basket, 
and one voice was hushed forever. Another 
ascended, and another, and another, each with 
the song bursting loudly from his lips, till death 
ended the strain. There was no weakness. No 
step trembled, no cheek paled, no voice faltered. 
But each succeeding moment the song grew 
more faint as head after head fell, and the bleed- 
ing bodies were piled side by side. At last one 
voice alone continued the song. It was that 
of Vergniaud, the most illustrious of them all. 
Long confinement had spread deathly pallor over 
his intellectual features, but firm and daunt- 
less, and with a voice of surpassing richness, he 
continued the solo into which the chorus had 
now died away. Without the tremor of a 
nerve, he mounted the scaffold. For a moment 
he stood in silence, as he looked down upon the 
lifeless bodies of his friends, and around upon 
the overawed multitude gazing in silent admi- 
ration upon this heroic enthusiasm. As he then 

246 Madame Roland. [1793 

burial of the bcxK «e. Errors of the ( JlrondiaU 

surrendered himself to the executioner, he com 
menced anew the strain, 

" Allons ! enfans de la patrie, 
Le jour de gloire est arrive." 

" Come ! children of your country, come ! 
The day of glory dawns on high." 

In the midst of the exultant tones, the ax glided 
on its bloody mission, and those lips, which had 
guided the storm of revolution, and whose patri- 
otic appeals had thrilled upon the ear of France, 
were silent in death. Thus perished the Gi- 
rondists, the founders of the Republic and its 
victims. Their votes consigned Louis and Ma- 
ria to the guillotine, and they were the first to 
follow them. One cart conveyed the twenty- 
one bodies away, and they were thrown into 
one pit, by the side of the grave of Louis XVI. 
They committed many errors. Few mindfl 
could discern distinctly the path of truth and 
duty through the clouds and vapors of those 
stormy times. But they were most sincerely 
devoted to the liberties of France. They over- 
threw the monarchv, and established the Re- 
public. • They died because they refused to open 
those sluice-ways of blood which the people de- 
manded. A few of the Girondists had mada 
their escape. P6tion, Buzot, Barbaroux, and 

171)3.] Fate of the Girondists. 249 

Escape of Gaadet and other*. The Jacobin* clamor for more blood 

Gaudet wandered in disguise, and hid them 
selves in the caves of wild and unfrequented 
mountains. La Fayette, who was one of tht 
most nohle and illustrious apostles of this creed, 
was saved from the guillotine by weary years 
of imprisonment in the dungeons of Olmutz. 
Madame Roland lingered in her cell, striving 
to maintain serenity, while her soul was tor- 
tured with the tidings of carnage and woe which 
every morning's dawn brought to her ears. 

The Jacobins were now more and more olam- 
orous for blood. They strove to tear La Fay- 
ette from his dungeon, that they might triumph 
in his death. They pursued, with implacable 
vigilance, the Girondists who had escaped from 
their fury. They trained blood-hounds to scent 
them out in their wild retreats, where they were 
suffering, from cold and starvation, all that hu- 
man nature can possibly endure. For a time, 
five of them lived together in a cavern, thirty 
feet in depth This cavern had a secret com- 
munication with the cellar of a house. Their 
generous hostess, periling her own life for them, 
daily supplied them with food. She could fur- 
nish them only with the most scanty fare, lest 
she should be betrayed by the purchase of pro- 
visions necessary for so many mouths. It wa* 

250 Madame Roland. [1793 

More Girondist* executed. Pate of Petion and Buzot 

mid-winter. No fire warmed them in theii 
damp and gloomy vault, and this living burial 
must have been worse than death. The search 
became so rigid that it was necessary for thera 
to disperse. One directed his steps toward the 
Pyrenees. He was arrested and executed. 
Three toiled along by night, through cold, and 
snow, and rain, the keen wind piercing their 
tattered garments, till their sufferings made 
them reokless of life. They were arrested, and 
found, in the blade of the guillotine, a refuge 
from their woes. At last all were taken and 
executed but Petion and Buzot. Their fate is 
involved in mystery. None can tell what their 
sufferings were during the days and the nights 
of their weary wanderings, when no eye but 
that of God could see them. Some peasants 
found among the mountains, where they had 
taken refuge, human remains rent in pieces by 
the wolves. The tattered garments were scat- 
tered around where the teeth of the ferocious 
animals had left them. They were all that 
was left of the noble Petion and Buzot. But 
how did they die ? Worn out by suffering and 
abandoned to despair, did they fall by their own 
hands ? Did they perish from exposure to hun- 
ger and exhaustion, and the freezing blasts of 

1793.] Fate of the Girondists 251 

Mystery attending the death of Petit; n and Buaot. 

winter ? Or, in their weakness, were they at- 
tacked by the famished wolves of the mount- 
ains ? The dying scene of Petion and Buzot is 
involved in impenetrable obscurity. Its tragic 
accompaniments can only be revealed when ali 
mysteries shall be unfolded. 

252 Madame Roland. [1793 

Uberatkm of Madame Roland. Sfae U re-arre**d 

Chapter XI. 

Prison Life. 

1\/|ADAME ROLAND remained for four 
-L'J- months in the Abbaye prison. On the 
24th day of her imprisonment, to her inexpress- 
ible astonishment, an officer entered her cell, 
and informed her that she was liberated, as no 
charge could be found against her. Hardly 
orediting her senses — fearing that she should 
wake up and find her freedom but the blissful 
ielirium of a dream — she took a coach and 
hastened to her own door. Her eyes were full 
of tears of joy, and her heart almost bursting 
with the throbbings of delight, in the anticipa- 
tion of again pressing her idolized child to he/ 
bosom. Her hand was upon the door latch — 
she had not yet passed the threshold — when two 
men, who had watched at the door of her dwell- 
ing, again seized her in the name of the law. 
In spite of her tears and supplications, they 
conveyed her to the prison of St. Pelagie. This 
loathsome receptacle of crime was filled with 
the abandoned females who had been swept, in 

1793.] Prison Life. 253 

Infamous cruelty of the Jacobins. Anguish of Ma.Ia.rao Roland 

impurity and degradation, from the streets of 
Paris. It was, apparently, a studied humilia- 
tion, to compel their victim to associate with 
beings from whom her soul shrunk with loath- 
ing. She had resigned herself to die, but not 
to the society of infamy and pollution. 

The Jacobins, conscious of the illegality oi 
her first arrest, and dreading her power, were 
anxious to secure her upon a more legal foot- 
ing. They adopted, therefore, this measure of 
liberating her and arresting her a second time. 
Even her firm and resigned spirit was for a 
moment vanquished by this cruel blow. Her 
olissful dream of happiness was so instantane- 
ously converted into the blackness of despair, 
that she buried her face in her hands, and, in 
the anguish of a bruised and broken heart, wept 
aloud. The struggle, though short, was very 
violent ere she regained her wonted composure. 
She soon, however, won the compassionate sym- 
pathy of her jailers, and was removed from 
<ihis degrading companionship to a narrow cell, 
tf here she could enjoy the luxury of being alone. 
Aji humble bed was spread for her in one cor 
ner, and a small table was placed near the few 
rays of light whioh stole feebly in through the 
iron grating of the inaocessibk window. Sum- 

254 Madame Roland. [1793 

V Maine Roland recovers her composure. Intellectual enjoyment! 

moning all her fortitude to her aid, she again 
resumed her usual occupations, allotting to each 
hour of the day its regular employment. She 
engaged vigorously in the study of the English 
language, and passed some hours every day in 
drawing, of which accomplishment she was very 
fond. She had no patterns to copy ; but her 
imagination wandered through the green fields 
and by the murmuring brooks of her rural home. 
Now she roved with free footsteps through the 
vineyards which sprang up beneath her creative 
pencil. Now she floated upon the placid lake, 
reclining upon the bosom of her husband and 
caressing her child, beneath the tranquil sub- 
limity of the evening sky. Again she sat down 
at the humble fireside of the peasant, minister- 
ing to the wants of the needy, and receiving 
the recompense of grateful hearts. Thus, on 
the free wing of imagination, she penetrated all 
scenes of beauty, and spread them out in vivid 
reality before her eye. At times she almost 
forgot that she was a captive. Well might she 
have exclaimed, in the language of Mtria An- 
toinette, *' What a resource, amid tue calami- 
ties of life, is a highly-oultivated mind !" 

A few devoted friends periled their own live§ 
by gaining occasional access to her. During 

1793.] Prison Life. 255 

More comfortable apartments. Kindness )f the Jailer's wife. 

the dark hours of that reign of terror and of 
blood, no crime was more unpardonable than 
the manifestation of sympathy for the accused. 
These friends, calling as often as prudence 
would allow, brought to her presents of fruit 
and of flowers. At last the jailer's wife, una- 
ble to resist the pleadings of her own heart for 
one whom she could not but love and admire, 
ventured to remove her to a more comfortable 
apartment, where the daylight shone brightly 
in through the iron bars of the window. Here 
she could see the clouds and the birds soaring 
in the free air. She was even allowed, through 
her friends, to procure a piano-forte, which af- 
forded her many hours of recreation. Musio, 
drawing, and flowers were the embellishmonts 
of her life. Madame Bouchaud, the wife of 
the jailer, conceived for her prisoner the kind- 
est affection, and daily visited her, doing ev- 
ery thing in her power to alleviate the bitter- 
ness of her imprisonment. At last her sym- 
pathies were so aroused, that, regardless of aU 
prudential considerations, she offered to aid her 
in making her escape. Madame Roland was 
deeply moved by this proof of devotion, and, 
though she was fully aware that she must soon 
plac^ her head upon the soaffold, she firmly re- 

256 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland entreated to escape. Rigorotu treatment 

fused all entreaties to escape in any way ^t icb 
might endanger her friend. Others united with 
Madame Bouchaud in entreating her to accept 
of her generous offer. Their effort, were en- 
tirely unavailing. She preferred to die herself 
rather than to incur the possibility of exposing 
those who loved her to the guillotine. The kind- 
ness with which Madame Roland was treated 
was soon spied out by those in power. The 
jailer was severely reprimanded, and ordered 
immediately to remove the piano-forte from the 
room, and to confine Madame Roland rigorous- 
ly in her cell. This change did not disturb the 
equanimity of her spirit. She had studied so 
deeply and admired so profoundly all that was 
noble in the most illustrious characters of an- 
tiquity, that her mind instinctively assumed 
the same model. She found elevated enjoy- 
ment in triumphing over every earthly ill. 

An English lady, then residing in Franco, 
who had often visited her in the days of hei 
power, when her home presented all that earth 
oould give of splendor, and when wealth and 
rank were bowing obsequiously around her, 
thus describes a visit which she paid to her cell 
in these dark day& of adversity. 

11 T visited her in the prison of Sainte Pela 

l7tM.j Prison Lif*. 257 

Visit of au English lady. Kindness of the jailerm 

gie, where her soul, superior to circumstances, 
retained its accustomed serenity, and she con- 
versed with the same animated cheerfulness in 
her cheerless dungeon as she used to do in the 
hotel of the minister. She had provided her- 
self with a few books, and I found her reading 
Plutarch. She told me that she expected to die, 
and the look of placid resignation with which 
she said it convinced me that she was prepared 
to meet death with a firmness worthy of her ex- 
alted character. When I inquired after her 
daughter, an only child of thirteen years of age, 
she burst into tears ; and, at the overwhelming 
recollection of her husband and child, the cour- 
age of the victim of liberty was lost in the feel- 
ings of the wife and the mother. " 

The rr erciless commissioners had ordered her 
to be incarcerated in a cell which no beam of 
light could penetrate. But her compassionate 
keepers ventured to misunderstand the orders, 
and to place her in a room where a few rays of 
the morning sun could struggle through the 
grated windows, and where the light of day, 
though seen bat dimly, might still, in some de- 
gree, cheer those eyes so soon to be closed for 
ever. The soul, instinctively appreciative of 

beautv, will under the most adverse circum 


258 Madame Rolanb. [179a 

Cheerful Mpeet of M adame Roland's oelL Henrietta Caanet 

stances, evoke congenial visions. Her friends 
brought her flowers, of which from childhood 
she had been most passionately fond. These 
oherished plants seemed to comprehend and re- 
quite unaffected love. At the iron window of 
her prison they appeared to grow with the joy 
and luxuriance of gratitude. With intertwin- 
ing leaf and blossom, they concealed the rusty 
bars, till they changed the aspect of the grated 
cell into a garden bower, where birds might 
nestle and sing, and poets, might love to linger. 
When in the convent, she had formed a strong 
attachment for one of her companions, which 
the lapse of time had not diminished. Through 
all the vicissitudes of their lives they had kept 
up a constant correspondence. This friend, 
Henrietta Cannet, one day obtained access to 
her prison, and, in the exercise of that roman- 
tic friendship of which this world can present 
but few parallels, urged Madame Roland to ex- 
change garments with her, and thus escape from 
prison and the scaffold. " If you remain," said 
Henrietta, " your death is inevitable If I re 
main in your place, they will not take my Life, 
Dut, after a short imprisonment, I shall be lib- 
erated. None fear me, and I am too obscure to 
•.ttraot attention in these troubled times. I, 9 ' 

1793.] . Prison Life. *61 

Vain entreaties. Robespierre ta the eentth of his poiret 

she continued, " am a widow, ^nd childless 
There are no responsibilities which olaim my 
Ame. You have a husband, advanced in years, 
and a lovely little child, both needing your ut- 
most care." Thus she pleaded with her to ex- 
change attire, and endeavor to escape. But 
neither prayers nor tears availed. " They would 
kill thee, my good Henriette !" exclaimed Ma- 
dame Roland, embracing her friend with tears 
of emotion. " Thy blood would ever rest on 
me. Sooner would I suffer a thousand deaths 
than reproach myself with thine." Henriette, 
finding all her entreaties in vain, sadly bade her 
adieu, and was never permitted to see her more. 
Robespierre was now in the zenith of his pow- 
er. He was the arbiter of life and death. One 
word from him would restore Madame Roland 
to liberty. But he had steeled his heart against 
every sentiment of humanity, and was not will 
ing to deprive the guillotine of a single viotim 
One day Madame Roland was lying sick in the 
Infirmary of the prison. A physician attended 
her, who styled himself the friend of Robes- 
piisrre The mention of his name recalled tc 
her remembranoe their early friendship, and her 
own exertions to save his life when it was ii 
iinminent peril. This suggested to aer tne ;aea 

H02 Madame Roland. [17ii3 

Madam* Roland's letter to Robeeptem*. 

of writing to him. She oboyed the impulse, 
and wrote as follows : 

41 Robespierre ! I am about to put you to the 
proof, and to repeat to you what I said respect- 
ing your character to the friend who has under- 
taken to deliver this letter. You may be very 
sure that it is no suppliant who addresses you. 
I never asked a favor yet of any human being, 
and it is not from the depths of a prison I would 
supplicate him who could, if he pleased, restore 
me to liberty. No ! prayers and entreaties be- 
long to the guilty or to slaves. Neither would 
murmurs or complaints accord with my nature. 
I know how to bear all. I also well know that 
at the beginning of every republic the revolu- 
tions which effected them have invariably se- 
lected the principal actors in the change as their 
victims. It is their fate to experience this, as 
it becomes the task of the historian to avenge 
their memories. Still I am at a ioss to imagine 
how I, a mere woman, should oe exposed to the 
*ury of a storm, ordinarily suffered to expend 
tsell upon the great leaders of a revolution 
You, Robespierre, were well acquainted with 
my husband, and I defy you to say that you 
ever thought him other than an honorable man 
He had all the roughness of virtue, even as Cat* 

1793.] Prison Life. 263 

Madame Roland's letter to Robespierre. 

possessed its asperity. Disgusted with busi- 
ness, irritated by persecution, weary of the 
world, and worn out with years and exertions, 
he desired only to bury himself and his troubles 
in some unknown spot, and to conceal himself 
there to save the age he lived in from the com- 
mission of a crime. 

" My pretended confederacy would be amus- 
ing, were it not too serious a matter for a jest. 
Whence, then, arises that degree of animosity 
manifested toward me ? I never injured a creat- 
ure in my life, and can not find it in my heart 
to wish evil even to those who injure and op- 
press me. Brought up in solitude, my mind 
directed to serious studies, of simple tastes, an 
enthusiastic admirer of the Revolution— exclud- 
ed, by my sex, from participating in publio af- 
fairs, yet taking delight in conversing of them 
— I despised the first calumnies circulated re- 
specting me, attributing them to the envy felt 
by the ignorant and low-minded at what they 
were pleased to style my elevated position, but 
to which I infinitely preferred the peaceful ob- 
scurity in which I had passed so many happy 

" Yet I have now been for five months the 
Inhabitant of a orison, torn from my beloved 

264 Madame Roland. 11793. 

Madame Roland's Letter to Robespierre. 

child, whose innocent head may never more be 
pillowed upon a mother's breast ; far from all I 
hold dear ; the mark for the invectives of a mis- 
taken people ; constrained to hear the very sen- 
tinels, as they keep watch beneath my win- 
dows, discussing tho subject of my approaching 
execution, and outraged by reading the violent 
and disgusting diatribes poured forth against 
me by hirelings of the press, who have never 
onoo beheld me. I have wearied no one with 
requests, petitions, or demands. On the con- 
trary, I feel proudly equal to battle with my 
own ill fortune, and it may be to trample it un- 
der my feet. 

" Robespierre ! I send not this softened pic- 
ture of my condition to excite your pity. No ! 
*uch a sentiment, expressed by you, would not 
only offend me, but be rejected as it deserves. 
I write for your edification. Fortune is fickle 
— popular favor equally so. Look at the fate 
of those who led on the revolutions of formei 
ages — the idols of the people, and afterward their 
governors — from Vitellius to Caesar, or from 
Hippo, the orator of Syraouse, down to our Pa. 
risian speakers. Scylla and Marius proscribed 
thousands of knights and senators, besides a vast 
number of other unfortunate beings ; but \*ei« 

1793.] Prison Life. 265 

Madame Roland s letter to Robeapierre. 

they enabled to prevent history from handing 
down their names to the just execration of pos- 
terity, and did they themselves enjoy happi- 
ness ? Whatever may be the fate awarded to 
tne I shall know how to submit to it in a man- 
ner worthy of myself, or to anticipate it should 
I deem it advisable. After receiving the hon- 
ors of persecution, am I to expect the still great- 
er one of martyrdom ? Speak ! It is something 
to know your fate, and a spirit such as mine 
can boldly face it, be it as it may. Should you 
bestow upon my letter a fair and impartial po- 
rusal, it will neither be useless to you nor tc 
my country. But, under any circumstances, 
this I say, Robespierre — and you can not deny 
the truth of my assertion — none who have ever 
known me can persecute mo without a feeling 
of remorse." 

Madame Roland preferred to die rather than 
to owe her life to the compassion of her ene- 
mios Could she obtain a triumphant acquit- 
tal, through the force of her own integrity, she 
would greatl) exult. But her imperial spirit 
would not stoop to the acceptance of a pardon 
fron: those who deserved the execrations of man- 
kind; such a pardon she would have torn in 

2t>6 Madame Roland. [1793. 

Supports of philosophy. Lnfluenoe of tho Roman Catholic relijrio* 

fragments, and have stepped resolutely upon the 

There is something cold and chilling in tho 
tupports which pride and philosophy alone can 
ifford under the calamities of life. Madame 
Roland had met with Christianity only as it ap- 
peared in the pomp and parade of the Catholio 
Church, and in the openly-dissolute lives of its 
ignorant or voluptuous priesthood. While her 
poetio temperament was moved by the sublime 
conception of a God ruling over the world of 
matter and the world of mind, revealed relig- 
ion, as her spirit encountered it, consisted only 
in gorgeous pageants, and ridioulous dogmas, 
and puerile traditions. The spirit of piety and 
pure devotion she could admire. Her natural 
temperament was serious, reflective, and pray- 
erful. Her mind, so far as religion was con- 
cerned, was very much in the state of that of 
any intellectual, high-minded, uncorruptible Ro- 
man, who renounced, without opposing, the idol- 
atry of the benighted multitude ; who groped 
gainfully for some revelation of God and of 
fruth ; who at times believed fully in a superin- 
tending providence, and again had fears wheth- 
er there were any God or any immortality. In 
the processions, the relics, the grotesque garb, 

1793.] Prison Life. 267 

Energy of Madame Roland. She prepares for voluntary de«Ck 

and the spiritual terrors wielded by the Roman 
Catholic priesthood, she could behold but bare- 
faced deception. The papal system appeared 
to her but as a colossal monster, oppressing the 
people with hideous superstition, and sustain- 
ing, with its superhuman energies, the corrup- 
tion of the nobles and of the throne. In reject- 
ing this system, she had no friend to conduct her 
to the warm, sheltered, and congenial retreats 
of evangelical piety. She was led almost inev- 
itably, by the philosophy of the times, to those 
chilling, barren, storm-swept heights, where the 
soul can find no shelter but in its own indom- 
itable energies of enduranoe. These energies 
Madame Roland displayed in suoh a degree as 
to give her a name among the very first of those 
in any age who by heroism have shed lu f i 

human nature. 

Under the influence of these feelings, she 
came to the conclusion that it would be more 
honorable for her to die by her own hand than 
to be dragged to the guillotine by her foes. She 
obtained some poison, and sat down oalmly to 
write her last thoughts, and her last messages 
of love, before she should plunge into the deep 
mystery of the unknown. There is something 
exceedingly affecting in the vague and shadowy 

26P Madame Roland. [1793 

Mad&rae Roland's prayer. Notei to b«r h»ab«*id and child 

p ayer which she offered on this occasion. It 
betrays a painful uncertainty whether there 
were any superintending Deity to hear her cry, 
and yet it was the soul's instinctive breathings 
for a support higher and holier than could be 
found within itself. 

" Divinity ! Supreme Being ! Spirit of the 
Universe ! great principle of all that I feel great, 
or good, or immortal within myself — whose ex- 
istence I believe in, because I must have ema- 
nated from something superior to that by which 
I am surrounded — I am about to reunite my- 
self to thy essence." In her farewell note to 
her husband, she writes, " Forgive me, my es- 
teemed and justly-honored husband, for taking 
upon myself to dispose of a life I had consecrat- 
ed to you. Believe me, I could have loved life 
and you better for your misfortunes, had I been 
permitted to share them with you. At pres- 
ent, by my death, you are only freed from a 
useless object of unavailing anguish." 

All the fountains of a mother's love gush forth 
%8 she writes to her idolized Eudora : " Pardon 
me, ray beloved child, my sweet daughter, whose 
gentle image dwells within my heart, and whose 
very remembrance shakes my sternest resolu- 
tion Never would your fond mother have left 

1793.) Prison Life. 269 

Apostrophe to friends. Farewell to Naturt 

you helpless in the world, could she but have 
remained to guide and guard you." 

Then, apostrophizing her friends, she ex- 
claims, " And you, my oherished friends, trans- 
fer to my motherless child the affection you 
have ever manifested for me. Griove not at a 
resolution which ends my many and sovere tri- 
als. You know me too well to believe that 
weakness or terror have instigated the step I 
am about to take." 

She made her will, bequeathing such trifling 
souvenirs of affection as still remained in her 
possession to her daughter, her friends, and her 
servants. She then reverted to all she had lov 
ed and admired of the beauties of nature, and 
which she was now to leave forever. " Faro- 
well !" she wroto, u farewell, glorious sun ! that 
never failed to gild my windows with thy gold- 
en rays, ere thou hiddest thy brightness in the 
heavens. Adieu, ye lonely banks of the Saone, 
whose wild beauty ovuld fill my heart with such 
deep delight. And you too, poor but honost 
people of Thizy, whose labors I lightened, whose 
distress I relieved, and whose sick beds I tend- 
ed — farewell ! Adieu, oh ! peaceful chambers 
of my childhood, where I learned to love virtue 
ftjul truth — where ray imagination found in 

270 Madame Rolakj>. [1793 

Maturnal lore triumph*. The struggle ended 

books and study the food to delight it, and 
where I learned in silence to command my 
passions and to despise my vanity. Again 
farewell, my child ! Remember your mother 
Doubtless your fate will be less severe than 
hers. Adieu, beloved child ! whom I nourished 
at my breast, and earnestly desired to imbue 
with every feeling and opinion I myself enter- 

The cup of poison was in her hand. In her 
heart there was no consciousness that she should 
violate the command of any higher power by 
drinking it. But love for her child triumphed. 
The smile of Eudora rose before her, and for 
ner sake she clung to life. She threw away 
the poison, resolved never again to think of a 
voluntary withdrawal from the cares and sor- 
rows of her earthly lot, but with unwavering 
fortitude to surrender herself to those influences 
over which she could no longer exert any oon- 
trol. This brief conflict ended, she resumed 
her wonted composure and cheerfulness. 

Tacitus was now her favorite author. Honri 
and days she passed in studying his glowing de- 
scriptions of heroio character and deeds. He* 
roism became her religion; magnanimity and 
fortitude the klob of her soul With a {listen- 

17^5.] Prison Life. 271 

Deacrlptloaa of Tacttua. Madame Roland wrltea her memoirs. 

ing eye and a bosom throbbing with lofty emo- 
tion, she meditated upon his graphic paintings 
of the martyrdom of patriots and philosophers, 
where the soul, by its inherent energies, tri- 
umphed over obloquy, and pain, and death 
Anticipating that each day might conduct her 
to the scaffold, she led her spirit through all the 
possible particulars of the tragic drama, that 
she might become familiar with terror, and look 
upon the block and the ax with an undaunted 

Many hours of every day she beguiled in 
writing the memoirs of her own life. It was 
an eloquent and a touching narrative, written 
with the expectation that each sentenoe might 
be interrupted by the entranoe of the execu- 
tioners to conduct her to trial and to the guil- 
lotine. In this unveiling of the heart to the 
world, one sees a noble nature, generous and 
strong, animated to benevolence by native gen- 
erosity, and nerved to resignation by fatalism. 
The consciousness of spiritual elevation consti- 
tuted her only religion and her only solace. The 
tntioipation of a lofty reputation after death 
was her only heaven. The Christian must pity 
while he must admire. No one can read the 
thoughts she penned but with the deepest emo- 

272 Madame Roland. [1793 

The spirit wander* among happier scene*. 

Now her mind wanders to the hours of he? 
precocious and dreamy childhood, and lingers 
in her little chamber, gazing upon the golden 
sunset, and her eye is bathed in tears as she re 
fleets upon her early home, desolated by death, 
and still mure desolated by that unhonored union 
which the infidelity of the times tolerated, when 
one took the position o r the wife unblessed by the 
sanction of Heaven. Again her spirit wings its 
flight through the gloomy bars of the prison to 
the beautiful rural home to which her bridal 
introduced her, where she spent her happiest 
years, and she forgets the iron, and the stone, 
and the dungeon-glooms which surround her, 
as in imagination she walks again among her 


flowers and through the green fields, and, at the 
vintage, eats the rich, ripe clusters of the grape. 
Her pleasant household cares, her dairy, the do- 
mestic fowls recognizing her voice, and (ed from 
her own hand ; her library and her congenia 
intellectual pursuits rise befc re her, an entranc- 
ing vision, and she mourns, like Eve, the loss 
of Eden. The days of celebrity and of powei 
engross her thoughts. Her husband is again 
minister of the king. The most influential 
statesmen and brilliant orators are gathered 
around her chair. Her mind is guiding th« 

1793.J Prison Life. 273 

Striking contrast.". Madame Roland conveyed to the Conclergerie 

surging billows of the Revolution, and influenc- 
ing the decisions of the proudest thrcnes of 

The slightest movement dispels the illusion. 
From dreams she awakes to reality. She is a 
prisoner in a gloomy cell of stone and iron, from 
which there is no possible extrication. A bloody 
death awaits her. Her husband is a fugitive, 
pursued by human blood-hounds more merci- 
less than the brute. Her daughter, the object 
of her most idolatrous love, is left fatherless and 
motherless in this cold world. The guillotine 
has already consigned many of those whom she 
loved best to the grave. But a few more days 
of sorrow can dimly struggle through her pris- 
on windows ere she must be conducted to the 
scaffold. Woman's nature triumphs over phil- 
osophic fortitude, and she finds momentary re- 
lief in a flood of tears. 

The Girondists were led from their dungeons 
in the Conciergerie to their execution on ths 
31st of October, 1793. Upon that very day 
Madame Roland was conveyed from the prison 
of St. Pelagie to the same gloomy cells vacated 
by the death of her friends. She was oast into 
a bare and miserable dungeon, in that subter- 
ranean receptacle of woe, where there waf not 

274 Madame Roland. [1793 

DUm&l eelL Description of the Concter g wto 

even a bed. Another prisoner, moved with oom- 
passion, drew his own pallet into her cell, that 
she might not be compelled to throw herself for 
repose upon the cold, wet stones. The chill air 
of winter had now come, and yet no covering 
was allowed her. Through the long night she 
shivered with the cold. 

The prison of the Conciergerie consists of a 
series of dark and damp subterranean vaults sit> 
uated beneath the floor of the Palace of Justice. 
Imagination can conceive of nothing more disma* 
than these somber caverns, with long and wind- 
ing galleries opening into cells as dark as the 
tomb. You descend by a flight of massive stone 
steps into this sepulchral abode, and, passing 
through double doors, whose iron strength time 
has deformed but not weakened, you enter upon 
the vast labyrinthine prison, where the imag- 
ination wanders affrighted through intricate 
mazes of halls, and arches, and vaults, and dun 
geons, rendered only more appalling by the dim 
light which struggles through those grated ori- 
fioes which pierced the massive walls. The 
Seine flows by upon one side, separated only by 
the high way of the quays. The bed of the 
Seine is above the floor of the prison. The sur- 
rounding earth was consequently saturated with 

1793.) Prison Lifk. 27fi 

If arrow courts. Quadrangular tow«r 

water, and the oozing moisture diffused over the 
walls and the floors the humidity of the sepul- 
cher. The plash of the river ; the rumbling of 
oarts upon the pavements overhead ; the heavy 
tramp of countless footfalls, as the multitude 
poured into and out of the halls of justice, min- 
gled with the moaning of the prisoners in those 
solitary cells. There were one or two narrow 
courts scattered in this vast structure, where 
the prisoners could look up the precipitous 
walls, as of a well, towering high above them, 
and see a few square yards of sky. The gi- 
gantic quadrangular tower, reared above these 
firm foundations, was formerly the imperial pal- 
ace from which issued all power and law. Here 
the French kings reveled in voluptuousness, 
with their prisoners groaning beneath their feet 
This strong-hold of feudalism had now become 
the tomb of the monarchy. In one of the most 
loathsome of these cells, Maria Antoinette, the 
daughter of the Csesars, had languished in mis- 
ery as profound as mortals can suffer, till, in the 
endurance of every conceivable insult, she was 
dragged to the guillotine. 

It was into a cell adjoining that which the 
hapless queen had occupied that Madame Ro- 
land was oast. Here the proud daughter of the 

276 Madam f. Roland. [1793 

fhe daughter of the Csas&rs. The daughter of the artiaaa 

emperors of Austria and the humble child of 
the artisan, each, after a career of unexampled 
vicissitudes, found their paths to meet but a 
few steps from the scaffold. The victim of the 
monarchy and the victim of the Revolution 
were conducted to the same dungeons and per- 
ished on the same block. They met as an- 
tagonists in the stormy arena of the French 
Revolution. They were nearly of equal age. 
The one possessed the prestige of wealth, and 
rank, and ancestral power ; the other, the en- 
ergy of vigorous and cultivated mind. Both 
were endowed with unusual attractions of per- 
son, spirits invigorated by enthusiasm, and the 
loftiest heroism. From the antagonism of life 
they met in death. 

I793.J Trial and Execution. 277 

If KAuiinadoii of M»<iam» Roland Her «»twu> (Vtr the O'rondlst* 

Chapter XII 

Trial and Execution of Madame Ro- 

THE day after Madame Roland was placed 
in the Conciergerie, she was visited by one 
of the notorious officers of the revolutionary 
party, and very closely questioned concerning 
the friendship she had entertained for the Gi- 
rondists. She frankly avowed the elevated af- 
fection and esteem with which she cherished 
their memory, but she deolared that she and 
they were the cordial friends of republican lib- 
erty ; that they wished to preserve, not to de- 
stroy, the Constitution. The examination was 
vexatious and intolerant in the extreme. It 
lasted for three hours, and consisted in an in- 
cessant torrent of criminations, to which she 
was hardly permitted to offer one word in re- 
dly. This examination taught her the nature 
of the accusations which would be brought 
Against her. She sat down in her cell that 
very night, and, with a rapid pen, sketched that 
defense whioh has been pronounced one of the 

27a Madame Roland [1793 

Eloquent defense of Madame Roland. 

most eloquent and touching monuments of the 
Revolution. It so beautifully illustrates the 
heroism of her character, the serenity of her 
spirit, and the beauty and energy of her men- 
tal operations, that it will ever be read with the 
liveliest interest. 

" I am accused," she writes, " of being the 
accomplice of men called conspirators. My in- 
timacy with a few of these gentlemen is of much 
older date than the occurrences in consequence 
of which they are now deemed rebels. Our 
correspondence, since they left Paris, has been 
entirely foreign to public affairs. Properly 
speaking, I have been engaged in no political 
correspondence whatever, and in that respect I 
might confine myself to a simple denial. I cer- 
tainly can not be called upon to give an account 
of my particular affections. I have, however, 
the right to be proud of these friendships. I 
glory in them. I wish to conceal nothing. I 
acknowledge that, with expressions of regret at 
my confinement, I received an intimation that 
Duperiet had two letters for me, whether writ- 
ten by one or by two of my friends, before or 
after their leaving Paris, I can not say. Du- 
perret had delivered them into other hands, and 
they never came to mine. Another time I re- 

1793.] Trial ind Execution 279 

Madame Roland's reasons for not escaping. 

oeived a pressing invitation to break my chains, 
and an offer of services, to assist me in effect- 
ing my escape in any way I might think prop- 
er, and to convey me whithersoever I might 
afterward wish to go. I was dissuaded from 
listening to such proposals by duty and by hon- 
or : by duty, that I might not endanger the 
safety of those to whose care I was confided ; 
and by honor, because I preferred the risk of an 
unjust trial to exposing myself to the suspicion 
of guilt by a flight unworthy of me. When I 
consented to my arrest, it was not with the in- 
tention of afterward making my escape. With- 
out doubt, if all means of communication had 
not been cut off, or if I had not been prevented 
oy confinement, I should have endeavored to 

earn what had become of my friends. I know 
of no law by which my doing so is forbidden 
In what age or in what nation was it ever con- 
sidered a crime to be faithful to those senti- 
ments of esteem and brotherly affection whioh 
bind man to man ? 

" I do not pretend to judge of the measure* 
of those who have been proscribed, but I will 
never believe in the evil intentions of men of 

whose probity and patriotism I am thoroughly 
convinced. If they erred, it was anintention- 

280 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland's opinion of 'the Girondists. 

ally. They fall without being abased, and I 
regard them as being unfortunate without be- 
ing liable to blame. I am perfectly easy as to 
their glory, and willingly consent to participate 
in the honor of being oppressed by their ene- 
mies. They are accused of having conspired 
against their country, but I know that they 
were firm friends of the Republic. They were, 
however, humane men, and were persuaded that 
good laws were necessary to procure the Repub 
lio the good will of persons who doubted wheth- 
er the Republic could be maintained. It is 
more difficult to conciliate than to kill. The 
history of every age proves that it requires great 
talents to lead men to virtue by wise institu- 
tions, while force suffices to oppress them by 
terror, or to annihilate them by death. I have 
often heard them assert that abundance, as well 
as happiness, can only proceed from an equi- 
table, protecting, and beneficent government 
The omnipotence of the bayonet may produce 
fear, but not bread. I have seen them anima 
ted by the most lively enthusiasm for the good 
of the people, disdaining to flatter them, and 
resolved rather to fall victims to their delusion 
than to be the means of keeping it up. I con- 
fess that these principles and this conduct a p. 

1793.) Trial and Execution. 281 

Madame Roland's opinion of the Revolution. 

peared to me totally different from the senti- 
ments and proceedings of tyrants, or ambitions 
men, who seek to please the people to effect 
their subjugation. It inspired me with the 
highest esteem for those generous men. This 
jrror, if an error it be, will accompany me to 
the grave, whither I shall be proud of follow- 
ing those whom I was not permitted to accom- 

" My defense is more important for those who 
wish for the truth than it is for myself. Calm 
and contented in the consciousness of having 
done my duty, I look forward to futurity with 
perfect peace of mind. My serious turn and 
studious habits have preserved me alike from 
the follies of dissipation and from the bustle of 
intrigue. A friend to liberty, on which reflec- 
tion had taught me to set a just value, I beheld 
the Revolution with delight, persuaded it was 
destined to put an end to the arbitrary power I 
detested, and to the abuses I had so often la» 
mented, when reflecting with pity upon the in- 
digent classes of society. I took an interest in 
the progress of the Revolution, and spoke with 
warmth of public affairs, but I did not pass the 
Dounds prescribed by my sex. Some small tal- 
ents, a considerable share of philosophy, a de- 

282 Madams Roland. [1793. 

Ibui&me Roland'i estimate of her htubaad. 

gree of oourago more uncommon, and which 
did not permit me to weaken my husband's en- 
ergy in dangerous times — such, perhaps, are the 
qualities which those who know me may have 
indiscreetly extolled, and which may have made 
me enemies among those to whom I am un- 
known. M. Roland sometimes employed me as 
a secretary, and the famous letter to the king. 
for instance, is copied entirely in my hand-writ- 
ing. This would be an excellent item to add to 
my indictment, if the Austrians were trying me, 
and if they should have thought fit to extend a 
minister's responsibility to his wife. But M 
Roland long ago manifested his knowledge of, 
and his attachment to, the great principles of 
political economy. The proof is to be found in 
his numerous works published during the last 
fifteen years His learning and his probity are 
all his own. He stood in no need of a wife to 
make him an able minister. Never were se- 
oret councils held at his house. His colleagues 
and a few friends met once a week at his table, 
and there conversed, in a public manner, on 
matters in which every body was concerned. 
His writings, which breathe throughout a love 
of order and peace, and which enforce the best 
principles of publio prosperity and morals, will 

1793 j Trial and Execution. 283 

Madame Roland's correspondence with Duperret. 

forever attest his wisdom. His accounts prove 
his integrity. 

"As to the offense imputed to me, I observe 
that I never was intimate with Duperret. I 
saw him occasionally at the time of M. Roland's 
administration. He never came to our house 
during the six months that my husband was no 
longer in office. The same remark will apply 
to other members, our friends, which surely 
does not accord with the plots and conspiracies 
laid to our charge. It is evident, by my first 
letter to Duperret, I only wrote to him because 
I knew not to whom else to address myself, and 
because I imagined he would readily consent to 
oblige me. My correspondence with him could 
not, then, be concerted. It could not be the con- 
sequence of any previous intimacy, and could 
have only one object in view. It gave me aft- 
erward an opportunity of receiving accounts 
from those who had just absented themselves, 
and with whom I was connected by the ties of 
friendship, independently of all political oonsid* 
erations. The latter were totally out of the 
question in the kind of correspondence I kept 
up with them during the early part of their 
absence. No written memorial bears witness 
against me in that respect. Those adduced 

284 Madame Roland. [179a 

Effects of prejudices and violent animosities. 

only lead to the belief that I partook of the opin- 
ions and sentiments of the persons called con- 
spirators. This deduction is well founded. I 
confess it without reserve. I am proud of the 
conformity. But I never manifested my opin- 
ion in a way which can be construed into a crime, 
or which tended to occasion any disturbance. 
Now, to become an accomplice in any plan 
whatever, it is necessary to give advice, or to 
furnish means of execution. I have done nei- 
ther. There is no law to condemn me. 

" I know that, in revolutions, law as well as 
justice is often forgotten, and the proof of it is 
that I am here. I owe my trial to nothing but 
the prejudices and violent animosities which 
arise in times of great agitation, and which are 
generally directed against those who have been 
placed in conspicuous situations, or are known 
to possess any energy or spirit. It would have 
been easy for my courage to put me out of the 
reach of the sentence which I foresaw would 
be pronounced against me. But I thought it 
rather became me to undergo that sentence. I 
thought that I owed the example to my coun- 
try. I thought that if I were to be condemned, 
it must be right to leave to tyranny ail the odi« 
um of iwiorifioing a woman, whose crime is that 

L793.J Trial and Execution. 286 

Madame RoUnd avows her opinions. 

of possessing some small talent, which she never 
misapplied, a zealous desire to promote the wel- 
fare of mankind, and courage enough to ac- 
knowledge her friends when in misfortune, and 
to dc homage to virtue at the risk of life. Minds 
which have any claim to greatness are capable 
of divesting themselves of selfish considerations. 
They feel that they belong to the whole human 
race. Their views are directed to posterity. I 
am the wife of a virtuous man exposed to per- 
secution. I was the friend of men who have 
been proscribed and immolated by delusion, and 
the hatred of jealous mediocrity. It is necessa- 
ry that I should perish in my turn, because it 
is a rule with tyranny to sacrifice those whom 
it has grievously oppressed, and to annihilate 
the very witnesses of its misdeeds. I have this 
double claim to death at your hands, and I ex 
pect it. When innocence walks to the scaffold 
at the command of error and perversity, every 
step she takes is an advance toward glory. May 
f be the last victim sacrificed to the furious spirit 
of party. I shall leave with joy this unfortu- 
nate earth, which swallows up the friends of 
virtue and drinks the blood of the just. 

" Truth ! friendship ! my country ! saored 
objects, sentiments dear to my heart, accept m$ 

286 Madame Roland. [1793. 

Madame Roland's apostrophe to Liberty. 

last sacrifice. My life was devoted to you, and 
you will render my death easy and glorious. 

11 Just Heaven ! enlighten this unfortunate 
people for whom I desired liberty. Liberty ! it 
is for noble minds, who despise death, and who 
know how, upon occasion, to give it to them- 
selves. It is not for weak beings, who enter 
into a composition with guilt, and cover selfish- 
ness and cowardice with the name of prudence. 
It is not for corrupt wretches, who rise from the 
bed of debauchery, or from the mire of indi- 
gence, to feast their eyes upon the blood that 
streams from the scaffold. It is the portion of 
a people who delight in humanity, practice just- 
ice, despise their flatterers, and respect the truth. 
While you are not such a people, O my fellow- 
citizens ! you will talk in vain of liberty. In- 
stead of liberty you will have licentiousness, to 
which you will all fall victims in your turn. 
You will ask for bread ; dead bodies will be 
given you, and you at last will bow down your 
own necks to the yoke. 

" I have neither concealed my sentiments noi 
my opinions. I know that a Roman lady was 
sent to the scaffold for lamenting the death of 
her son. I know that, in times of delusion and 
party rage, he who dares avow himself the friend 

1793.] Trial and Execution. 289 

Repeated examinations. Madame Roland'f self-poMesakm. 

of the condemned or of the proscribed exposes 
himself to their fate. But I have no fear of 
death. I never feared any thing but guilt, and 
I will not purchase life at the expense of a base 
subterfuge. Woe to the times ! woe to the peo- 
ple among whom doing homage to disregarded 
truth can be attended with danger ; and hap- 
py is he who, in such circumstances, is boid 
enough to brave it. 

"It is now your part to see whether it an- 
swer your purpose to condemn me without proof 
upon mere matter of opinion, and without the 
support or justification of any law." 

Having concluded this magnanimous defense, 
which she wrote in one evening with the rapid- 
ity which characterized all her mental opera- 
tions, she retired to rest, and slept with the se- 
renity of a child. She was called upon several 
times by committees sent from the revolution- 
ary tribunal for examination. They were re- 
solved to take her life, but were anxious to do 
ifc, if possible, under the forms of law. She 
passed through all their examinations with the. 
most perfect composure and the most dignified 
•elf-possession. Her enemies could not with- 
hold their expressions of admiration as they saw 
her in her sepulchral cell of stone and of iron. 

288 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roiand's enthusiasm. Her influence upon the priaonera 

oheerful, fascinating, and perfectly at ease. She 
knew that she was to be led from that cell to a 
violent death, and yet no faltering of soul could 
bo detected. Her spirit had apparently achieved 
% perfect victory over all earthly ills. 

The upper part of the door of her cell was an 
iron grating. The surrounding cells were filled 
w th the most illustrious ladies and gentlemen 
of France. As the hour of death drew near, 
her courage and animation seemed to increase. 
Her features glowed with enthusiasm ; her 
thoughts and expressions were refulgent with 
sublimity, and her whole aspect assumed the 
impress of one appointed to fill some great and 
lofty destiny. She remained but a few days in 
the Conciergerie be^jre she was led to the scaf- 
fold. During those few days, by her example 
and her encouraging words, she spread among 
the numerous prisoners there an enthusiasm and 
a spirit of heroism which elevated, above the 
fear of the scaffold, even the most timid and de- 
pressed. This glow of feeling and exhilaration 
gave a new impress of sweetness and fascina- 
tion to her beauty, The length of her captiv- 
ity, the calmness with which she contemplated 
the certain approach of death, gave to her voice 
that depth of tone and slight tremulougnese of 

1793.J Trial and Execution 289 

Madame Roland's addresses to the prisoners. Effects of her eloquence 

utterance which sent her eloquent words home 
with thrilling power to every heart. Those who 
were walking in the corridor, or who were the 
occupants of adjoining cells, often called for her 
to speak to them words of encouragement and 

Standing upon a stool at the door of her own 
cell, she grasped with her hands the iron grat- 
ing which separated her from her audience. 
This was her tribune. The melodious accents 
of her voice floated along the labyrinthine ave- 
nues of those dismal dungeons, penetrating cell 
after cell, and arousing energy in hearts which 
had been abandoned to despair. It was, indeed, 
a strange scene which was thus witnessed in 
these sepulchral caverns. The silence, as of 
the grave, reigned there, while the clear and 
musical tones of Madame Roland, as of an an- 
gel of consolation, vibrated through the rusty 
bars, and along the dark, damp cloisters. One 
who was at that time an inmate of the prison, 
and survived those dreadful scenes, has describ- 
ed, in glowing terms, the almost miraoulous 
effects of her soul-moving eloquence. She was 
already past the prime of life, but she was still 
fascinating. Combined with the most wonder- 
ful power of expression, she possessed a voice 


290 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland's mmrical roiee. Her friendship for the Girondist* 

so exquisitely musical, that, long after her lips 
were silenced in death, its tones vibrated in lin- 
gering strains in the souls of those by whom 
they had ever been heard. The prisoners list- 
ened with the most profound attention to her 
glowing words, and regarded her almost as a 
celestial spirit, who had come to animate them 
to heroic deeds. She often spoke of the Girond- 
ists who had already perished upon the guillo- 
tine. With perfect fearlessness she avowed her 
friendship for them, and ever spoke of them as 
our friends. She, however, was careful never 
to utter a word which would bring tears into 
the eye. She wished to avoid herself all the 
weakness of tender emotions, and to lure the 
thoughts of her companions away from every 
contemplation which could enervate their en- 

Occasionally, in the solitude of her cell, as 
the image of her husband and of her child rose 
before her, and her imagination dwelt upon her 
desolated home and her blighted hopes — hei 
husband denounced and pursued by lawless vio- 
lence, and her ohild soon tt be an orphan — 
woman's tenderness would triumph over the 
heroine's stoicism. Burying, for a moment, her 
face in her hands, she would burst into a flood 

1793.] Trial and Execution 291 

rharmlnf character of Aiadama Roland. She la loved and esteemed 

of tears. Immediately straggling to regain 
composure, she would brush her tears away, 
and dress her countenance in its accustomed 
smiles. She remained in the Conoiergerie but 
one week, and during that time so endeared 
herself to all as to become the prominent object 
of attention and love. Her case is one of the 
most extraordinary the history of the world has 
presented, in which the very highest degree of 
heroism is combined with the most resistless 
charms of feminine loveliness. An unfeminine 
woman can never be loved by men. She may 
be respected for her talents, she may be honor- 
ed for her philanthropy, but she can not win 
the warmer emotions of the heart. But Ma- 
dame Roland, with an energy of will, an in n 
ibility of purpose, a firmness of stoical endur- 
ance which no mortal man has ever exceeded, 
combined that gentleness, and tenderness, and 
affection — that instinctive sense of the propri 
eties of her sex — which gathered around her a 
love as pure and as enthusiastic as woman ever 
excited. And while her friends, many of whom 
were the most illustrious men in France, had 
enthroned her as an idol in their hearts, the 
breath of slander never ventured to intimate 
that she was guilty even of an impropriety. 

292 Madame Roland [179*6 

Madame Roland's advocate. Her appearance at the tribunal 

The day before her trial, her advocate, Chau 
veau de la Garde, visited her to consult respect- 
ing her defense. She, well aware that no one 
could speak a word in her favor but at the peril 
of his own life, and also fully conscious that hei 
doom was already sealed, drew a ring from her 
finger, and said to him, 

J 1 To-morrow I shall be no more. I know 
the fate which awaits me. Your kind assist- 
ance can not avail aught for me, and would but 
endanger you. I pray you, therefore, not to 
come to the tribunal, but to accept of this last 
testimony of my regard." 

The next day she was led to her trial. She 
attired herself in a white robe, as a symbol of 
her innocence, and her long dark hair fell in 
thick curls on her neck and shoulders. She 
emerged from her dungeon a vision of unusual 
loveliness. The prisoners who were walking in 
the corridors gathered around her, and with 
emiles and words of encouragement she infused 
energy into their hearts. Calm and invincible 
she met her judges She was accused of the 
crimes of being the wife of M. Roland and the 
friend of his friends. Proudly she acknowledg- 
ed herself guilty of both those charges. When- 
*^rer she attempted to utter a word in her de* 

1793.] Trial and Execution 293 

Demand of the president Madame Roland's refusal. The sentence. 

fense, she was brow-beaten by the judges, and 
silenced by the clamors of the mob which filled 
the tribunal. The mob now ruled with undis- 
puted sway in both legislative and executive 
halls. The serenity of her eye was untroubled, 
and the composure of her disciplined spirit un- 
moved, save by the exaltation of enthusiasm, 
as she noted the progress of the trial, which was 
bearing her rapidly and resistlessly to the scaf- 
fold. It was, however, difficult to bring any 
accusation against her by which, under the 
form of law, she could be condemned. France, 
even in its darkest hour, was rather ashamed 
to behead a woman, upon whom the eyes of all 
Europe were fixed, simply for being the wife 
of her husband and the friend of his friends. 
At last the president demanded of her that she 
should reveal her husband's asylum. She proud- 
ly replied, 

" I do not know of any law bv which I can 
be obliged to violate the strongest feelings of 
nature." This was sufficient, and she was im- 
mediately condemned. Her sentence was thus 
expressed : 

" The public accuser has drawn up the pres- 
ent indictment against Jane Mary Phlippon, 
the wife of Roland, late Minister of the Interior 

294 Madame Roland. [1793 

Madame Roland'* dignity and calmneaa. She returns to her oeH 

for having wickedly and designedly aided and 
assisted in the conspiracy which existed against 
the unity and indivisibility of the Republic, 
against the liberty and safety of the French peo- 
ple, by assembling, at her house, in secret coun- 
cil, the principal chiefs of that conspiracy, and 
by keeping up a correspondence tending to fa- 
cilitate their treasonable designs. The tribu- 
nal, having heard the public accuser deliver his 
reasons concerning the application of the law, 
condemns Jane Mary Phlippon, wife of Roland 
to the punishment of death." 

She listened calmly to her sentence, and 
then, rising, bowed with dignity to her judges, 
and, smiling, said, 

"I thank you, gentlemen, for thinking me 
worthy of sharing the fate of the great men 
whom you have assassinated. I shall endeavor 
to imitate their firmness on the scaffold." 

With the buoyant step of a child, and with a 
rapidity which almost betokened joy, she passod 
Deneath the narrow portal, and descended to her 
sell, from which she was to be led, with the 
morning light, to a bloody death. The prison- 
ers had assembled to greet her on her return, 
and anxiously gathered around her. She look- 
ed upon them with a smile of perfeot tranquil- 

171*3.] Trial and Execution. 295 

M adMM Koland't requiem. She attires herself for the bridal of death, 

lity, and, drawing her hand across her neck, 
made a sign expressive of her doom. But a 
few hours elapsed between her sentence and her 
execution. She retired to her cell, wrote a few 
words of parting to her friends, played, upon a 
harp which had found its way into the prison, 
her requiem, in tones so wild and mournful, 
that, floating, in the dark hours of the night, 
through those sepulchral caverns, they fell like 
unearthly musio upon the despairing souls there 

The morning of the 10th of November, 1793, 
dawned gloomily upon Paris. It was one of 
the darkest days of that reign of terror which, 
ibr so long a period, enveloped France in its 
somber shades. The ponderous gates of the 
court-yard of the Conciergerie opened that morn- 
ing to a long procession of carts loaded with vic- 
tims for the guillotine. Madame Roland had 
contemplated her fate too long, and had disci- 
plined her spirit too severely, to fail of fortitude 
in this last hour of trial. She came from her 
oell scrupulously attired for the bridal of death. 
A serene smile was upon her cheek, and the 
glow of joyous animation lighted up her feat- 
ares as she waved an adieu to the weeping pris- 
oners who gathered around her. The last cart 

296 Madame Roland. [1793 

The passage to the guillotine. Horrible pastime 

was assigned to Madame Roland. She entered 
it with a step as light and elastic as if it were 
a carriage for a pleasant morning's drive. By 
her side stood an infirm old man, M. La Marche. 
He was pale and trembling, and his fainting 
heart, in view of the approaohing terror, almost 
ceased to beat. She sustained him by her arm, 
and addressed to him words of consolation and 
encouragement, in cheerful accents and with a 
benignant smile. The poor old man felt that 
God had sent an angel to strengthen him in the 
dark hour of death. As the cart heavily rum- 
bled along the pavement, drawing nearer and 
Dearer to the guillotine, two or three times, by 
her cheerful words, she even caused a smile 
faintly to play upon his pallid lips. 

The guillotine was now the principal instru- 
ment of amusement for the populace of Paris. 
It was so elevated that all could have a good 
view of the spectacle it presented. To witness 
*he conduct of nobles and of ladies, of boys and 
of girls, while passing through the horrors of a 
sanguinary death, was far more exciting than 
the unreal and bombastic tragedies of the thea- 
ter, or the conflicts of the cock-pit and the bear 
garden. A countless throng flooded the street* , 
tnen, women, and children, shouting, laughing 

1793] Trial and Exectttiom. 297 

.Madame ELnland't appearance in the cart She addresses the mob 

execrating. The celebrity of Madame Roland. 
her extraordinary grace and beauty, and her 
aspect, not only of heroic fearlessness, but of 
joyous exhilaration, made her the prominent 
objeot of the public gaze. A white robe grace- 
fully enveloped her perfect form, and her black 
and glossy hair, which for some reason the exe- 
cutioners had neglected to cut, fell in rich pro- 
fusion to her waist. A keen November blast 
swept the streets, under the influence of which, 
and the excitement of the scene, her animated 
countenance glowed with all the ruddy bloom 
of youth. She stood firmly in the cart, looking 
with a serene eye upon the orowds which lined 
the streets, and listening with unruffled seren- 
ity to the clamor which filled the air. A large 
crowd surrounded the cart in which Madame 
Roland stood, shouting, " To the guillotine ! to 
the guillotine !" She looked kindly upon them, 
and, bending over the railing of the cart, said 
to them, in tones as placid as if she were ad- 
dressing her own child, " My friends, I am going 
to the guillotine. In a few moments I shall be 
there. They who send me thither will ere long 
follow me. I go innocent. They will come stain- 
ed with blood. You who now applaud our exe- 
cution will then applaud theirs with equal zeaL" 

298 Madame Roland. [1793 

Powerful emotion* of Madame Roland. Work of the executioner* 

Madame Roland had continued writing her 
memoirs until the hour in which she left her 
cell for the scaffold. When the cart had almost 
arrived at the foot of the guillotine, her spirit 
was so deeply moved by the tragic scene — such 
emotions came rushing in upon her soul from 
departing time and opening eternity, that she 
could not repress the desire to pen down her 
glowing thoughts. She entreated an officer to 
furnish her for a moment with pen and paper. 
The request was refused. It is much to be re- 
gretted that we are thus deprived of that un- 
written chapter of her life. It can not be doubt- 
ed that the words she would then have written 
would have long vibrated upon the ear of a lis- 
tening world. Soul-utterances will force their 
way over mountains, and valleys, and oceans. 
Despotism can not arrest them. Time can not 
enfeeble them. 

The long procession arrived at the guillotine, 
and the bloody work commenced. The victims 
were dragged from the carts, and the ax rose 
and fell with unceasing rapidity. Head after 
head fell into the basket, and the pile of bleed- 
ing trunks rapidly increased in size. The ex- 
ecutioners approached the cart where Madame 
Rrland stood by the side of her fainting oom- 

1793.] Trial and Execution. 299 

---■■- - ■ - ■ 

Scene at the scaffold. Execution of the old mam. 

^anion. With an animated oonntenanoe and a 
cheerful smile, she was all engrossed in endeav. 
oring to infuse fortitude into his soul. The ex- 
ecutioner grasped her by the arm. " Stay," 
said she, slightly resisting his grasp ; " I have 
one favor to ask, and that is not for myself. I 
beseech you grant it me." Then turning to the 
old man, she said, " Do you precede me to the 
scaffold. To see m} blood flow would make 
you suffer the bitterness of death twice ovei. 
I must spare you the pain of witnessing my ex- 
ecution." The stern officer gave a surly refus- 
al, replying, " My orders are to take you first." 
With that winning smile and that fascinating 
grace which were almost resistless, she rejoined, 
" You can not, surely, refuse a woman her last 
request." The hard-hearted executor of the law 
was brought within the influence of her enchant- 
ment. He paused, looked at her for a moment 
in slight bewilderment, and yielded. The poor 
old man, more dead than alive, was conducted 
npon the scaffold and placed beneath the fatal 
ax. Madame Roland, without the slightest 
change of color, or the apparent tremor of a 
nerve, saw the ponderous instrument, with its 
glittering edge, glide upon its deadly missiun, 
and the deoapitated trunk of her friend wai 

300 Madame Roland. [1793 

Situation of the guillotine. Death of Madame Roland. 

thrown aside to give place for her. With a plac- 
id countenance and a buoyant step, she ascend* 
ed the platform. The guillotine was erected 
upon the vacant spot between the gardens of 
the Tuileries and the Elysian Fields, then 
known as the Place de la Revolution. This 
spot is now called the Place de la Concorde. 
It is unsurpassed by any other place in Europe. 
Two marble fountains now embellish the spot. 
The blood-stained guillotine, from which crim- 
son rivulets were ever flowing, then occupied 
the space upon which one of these fountains has 
been erected ; and a clay statue to Liberty reared 
its hypocritical front where the Egyptian obe- 
lisk now rises. Madame Roland stood for a mo- 
ment upon the elevated platform, looked calm- 
ly around upon the vast concourse, and then 
bowing before the colossal statue, exclaimed, 
" O Liberty ! Liberty ! how many crimes are 
committed in thy name." She surrendered her- 
self to the executioner, and was bound to the 
plank. The plank fell to its horizontal position, 
bringing her head under the fatal ax. The glit- 
tering steel glided through the groove, and the 
head of Madame Roland was severed from her 

Thus died Madame Roland, in the thirty- 

1793.] Trial and Execution. 303 

Wonderful attachment Grief of M. Roland 

ninth year of her age. Her death oppressed all 
who had known her with the deepest grief 
Her intimate friend Buzot, who was then a fu- 
gitive, on hearing the tidings, was thrown into 
a state of perfect delirium, from which he did 
not recover for many days. Her faithful fe- 
male servant was so overwhelmed with grief, 
that she presented herself before the tribunal, 
and implored them to let her die upon the same 
scaffold where her beloved mistress had perish- 
ed. The tribunal, amazed at such transports 
of attachment, declared that she was mad, and 
ordered her to be removed from their presence. 
A man-servant made the same application, and 
was sent to the guillotine. 

The grief of M. Roland, when apprised of the 
event, was unbounded. For a time he entirely 
lost his senses. Life to him was no longer en- 
durable. He knew not of any consolations of 
religion. Philosophy could only nerve him to 
stoicism. Privately he left, by night, the kind 
friends who had hospitably concealed him for 
six months, and wandered to such a distance 
from his asylum as to secure his protectors from 
any danger on his account. Through the long 
hours of the winter's night he continued hit 
dreary walk, till the first gray of the morning 

304 Madjme Roland. [179a 

Death of M Roland. Subsequent life of Eudorm 

appeared in the east. Drawing a long stiletto 
from the inside of his walking-stick, he piace^ 
the head of it against the trunk of a tree, and 
threw himself upon the sharp weapon. The 
point pierced his heart, and lie fell lifeless upon 
the frozen ground. Some peasants passing by 
discovered his body. A piece of paper was pin- 
ned to the breast of his coat, upon which there 
were written these words: "Whoever thou art 
that findest these remains, respect them as those 
of a virtuous man. After hearing of my wife's 
death, I would not stay another day in a world 
so stained with crime." 

The daughter of Madame Roland succeeded 
in escaping the fury of the tyrants of the Rev- 
olution. She lived surrounded by kind protec- 
tors, and in subsequent years was married to 
M, Champeneaux, the son of one of her moth- 
er's intimate friends. 

Such was the wonderful career of Madame 
Roland It is a history full of instruction, and 
ever reminds us that truth is stranger than 

The End. 

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